Illustration of a coronary angioplasty

Illustration of a coronary angioplasty

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Credit: HARVINDER SINGH/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Angioplasty. Computer illustration showing a stent (wire mesh) positioned in an artery narrowed by atherosclerosis. The wire-like catheter has been inserted into the artery and moved to the site of the constriction. Here, a balloon has been inflated in order to expand the stent. The balloon and the catheter are removed and the stent holds the artery open. This procedure is known as balloon angioplasty. The most common cause of arterial narrowing is atherosclerosis, the deposition of fatty plaques of atheroma (yellow) on the inner wall of an artery.

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