Narrowing and blockage of the arteries, atherosclerosis, is a very serious condition that affects millions of Americans and others around the world. When atherosclerosis narrows the blood vessels to the heart, angioplasty is a technique used to reopen the blocked vessel(s). Often, a wire mesh tube is inserted into the blood vessel to keep it open. This tube is called a stent. Usually angioplasties and stents are used in coronary arteries, but they can also be used in peripheral arteries and even some veins. Stents are placed in up to 90% of angioplasties every year.

Every year, more than one million angioplasties are performed in the US, whether after a heart attack; to improve symptoms of coronary artery disease; or to prevent other related illnesses. Up to 30% of heart attack patients are fitted with stents every year. The angioplasty procedure is relatively simple, and can take as little as an hour to perform, depending on the number of blockages and their locations. Multiple stents can be placed as well. However, the cost of an angioplasty and its related aftercare is often upwards of $25,000.

The procedure is done by inserting the balloon into the body through a large artery in the arm or leg. The balloon is then carefully threaded through the blood vessels until it reaches the blockage, where it is then inflated and withdrawn, leaving the stent to keep the blood vessel clear. Afterwards, a patient will stay in the hospital for observation for one to two days.

Although they can reestablish vital blood flow through the body, stents can become blocked again. Because they are foreign objects inserted into the body, scar tissue can form along or near the stent, and blood clots can form as well. Usually patients have to take an anti-clotting therapy for a while afterwards. Most must then continue to take aspirin daily to avoid platelets from clotting. Some stents are infused with anti-clotting medicines that can prevent this. The long-term safety of these stents is under intense scrutiny at the moment.

Additionally, the COURAGE study released in 2007 showed that more than 50% of angioplasties performed each year may be elective procedures that are unnecessary. In these cases, the patients’ symptoms could easily be controlled by medication. The study did find some benefits to doing an angioplasty (such as severe angina or increasing chest pain), but overall did not conclude that in elective procedures an angioplasty was any better at reducing the risk of a heart attack long-term.

While an angioplasty is a relatively safe procedure, there is always a risk of complication. Patients at most risk for potentially serious ones are those 75 or older; those with kidney disease or diabetes; women; and those with advanced heart disease or extensive blockages. Possible complications include bleeding in the blood vessel where the catheter was placed; allergic reactions to the dye used in the procedure; and irregular heart beat. Approximately three to five percent of angioplasty patients may be at risk for a heart attack related to the procedure.

Although it can be a successful treatment for patients with severe blockages or in the midst of a heart attack, a stent by itself cannot treat the underlying cause of the blocked blood vessel – the plaque buildup. Plaque is made of cholesterol, fats, calcium, and other substances. Preventing or reducing plaque buildup in blood vessels, especially the critical ones that provide blood to the heart, is an essential step in reducing the need to have an angioplasty procedure, whether it’s done electively or to reduce the risk of heart attack.

Cardio Renew is a safe, effective oral chelation treatment that can help your body to remove harmful plaque buildup and keep blood vessels clear. The EDTA in Cardio Renew binds the calcium in the plaque, allowing the body to eliminate it more easily. Plaque buildups are then softer and easier for the body to remove. To keep blood vessels blockage-free, this chelation therapy can be taken as part of your daily, heart healthy routine. Combined with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, Cardio Renew can help you prevent the dangerous blockages in arteries that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.