"This is my first day of the rest of my life." With that cliche out of the way, I can now bore you all with photos of my successful angioplasty.
The first one shows the narrowing of my left coronary artery. A second artery was also narrowed, while the third major artery had been unblocked during the emergency treatment following my heart attack on June 27th.
The second photograph shows how much more free flowing that artery had become following the installation of two stents within it. (Each of the the other major ateries also had two stents installed with similar effects on blood flow.)
A Stent is a metal mesh tube that is threaded via a catheter into the artery via a wrist or groin artery until it reaches the heart location where it is needed. Up to this point the mesh is collapsed and encloses a deflated balloon. When it is in position, the balloon is inflated causing the mesh to expand and force the arterial walls to expand too. When the stent is sufficiently expanded, the mesh locks in place. The balloon is removed and the stent stays in place holding the artery fully open.
The only invasive part of the procedure is at the site of the insertion of the catheter into the artery via the groin or wrist, a puncture site.