Angioplasty is a technique used to open an area of arterial blockage with the help of a catheter that has an inflatable small sausage-shaped balloon at its tip.

PTCA or Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty on the other hand involves introducing a balloon catheter through the groin, sometimes of the arm. It is placed within the blood vessel that is why it is medically called transluminal.


  1. The doctor inserts a catheter into the artery usually at the groin area.
  2. The angiography shows the travel of the catheter as it is being inserted, the doctor inserts a smaller double lumen balloon catheter through the guide catheter and directs the balloon through the occlusion.
  3. The doctor inflates the balloon, causing arterial stretching and plaque fracture.

Nursing Management:
Before the Procedure:

  1. Inform the patient that a catheter will pass through the artery and a vein in the groin area.
  2. Reassure the patient that the procedure lasts from one to four hours and he or she will lie flat on the operating table all the time.
  3. Advice deep breathing episodes during the procedure to provide ease with the process.

After the Procedure:

  1. Inform the patient that he or she will spend ample time in the cardiac ICU or a certain facility wherein closer monitoring will be done until he or she is stable.
  2. Monitor the heparin effects and other intravenous medications.
  3. Asses for the peripheral pulses from time to time, there is a tendency that it will be impeded due to prolonged supine position.

Discharge Instructions:

  1. When the patient goes home, emphasize that it he or she experienced complications such as bleeding or lack of sensation on the lower extremity, inform to call the attending physician immediately.
  2. Instruct that if chest pains happen there would be a tendency for the reinsertion of the catheter.

Photo credits:

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

What Do You Think?