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A specially designed balloon catheter with a small balloon tip is guided to the point of narrowing in the artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to compress the fatty matter into the artery wall and stretch the artery open to increase blood flow to the heart.
Angioplasty, which opens narrowed coronary arteries, is performed by an interventional cardiologist. The physician uses a long, thin tube called a catheter that has a small balloon on its tip. The balloon is inflated at the blocked site in the artery and flattens the plaque against the artery wall.