Benefits vs Risks of Angioplasty and Vascular Stenting

Angioplasty & Vascular Stenting Benefits

  • Compared to surgical interventions such as bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty and stent placement are much less invasive and relatively low-risk, low-cost procedures.
  • These procedures are performed using local anesthesia; no general anesthetic is required in the majority of patients.
  • No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.
  • You will be able to return to your normal activities shortly after the procedure.

Angioplasty & Vascular Stenting Risks

  • Major complications following angioplasty are uncommon. However, inserting the catheter can lead to injury of the artery. The balloon also poses a risk of blood clots or tearing the artery.
  • When angioplasty is performed alone, blockages can recur, although most of these arteries can be opened again successfully. This can also occur when a stent is placed in the artery at the time of the angioplasty.
  • Heavy bleeding from the catheter insertion site may require special medication or a blood transfusion.
  • There is a risk of stroke when angioplasty and/or stenting are performed on the carotid artery.
  • A relatively rare complication associated with balloon angioplasty is abrupt vessel closure, or occlusion. This blockage in the area treated by the balloon angioplasty typically occurs within 24 hours of the procedure. If it happens, treatment with medication into the artery to dissolve clots followed by angioplasty or stenting may be appropriate. In some cases, emergency bypass surgery may be needed.
  • Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection.
  • There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected.
  • Any procedure that involves placement of a catheter inside a blood vessel carries certain risks. These risks include damage to the blood vessel, bruising or bleeding at the puncture site, and infection.
  • Contrast material used during these procedures may cause renal failure, a decrease in kidney function, particularly if there is already some degree of decreased kidney function. Your physician generally checks your renal function before this procedure in order to lower this risk.