BSIP S & I / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP S & I / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Balloon angioplasty. Artwork showing an artery blocked by an atheroma being widened by balloon angioplasty. The atheroma (yellow) is a deposit of fatty material on the inner wall of the artery. It narrows the artery's interior, reducing blood flow. This can lead to problems as the organs and muscles the blocked artery leads to will not get the oxygen they require. Balloon angioplasty is a way of increasing the blood flow. A thin tube (blue) with a balloon around it (transparent, around tube at lower centre) is introduced into the blocked artery, and inflated inside the atheroma to widen it (silver mesh shows extent of inflation) and allow blood to flow normally again.
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