Harvard Heart Letter

Understanding angioplasty: When you need it and when you may not

Angioplasty and stent placement—a procedure that widens a narrowed coronary artery—is done most often in people experiencing a heart attack or unstable angina. But some are done after  a stress test suggests a possible blockage in one or more of the heart’s arteries. However, nonemergency or elective angioplasty is usually not necessary in people who don’t have angina. Medical therapy (including drugs and lifestyle changes) is just as effective for preventing a heart attack or death as angioplasty.
To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »