WILL & DENI MCINTYRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WILL & DENI MCINTYRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Angioplasty balloon device: used to unblock and widen arteries that have become obstructed by the formation of fatty plaques, clots and scar tissue (atheroma). The device appears in its inflated state. Introduced deflated into an artery via a catheter, the slim, cigar-shaped balloon is guided into position using angiography (an x-ray image of the artery which has been enhanced by prior injection of a radio-opaque contrast medium). When in position the balloon is inflated, providing a wider channel for blood to flow in. Angioplasty is used to complement laser techniques for vapourising atheroma tissue in cases of arterial disease.
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