Angioplasty is a technique used to dilate an area of arterial blockage with the help of a catheter that has an inflatable small sausage-shaped balloon at its tip. Since the balloon catheter is introduced through the skin of the groin, and sometimes the arm ( percutaneous = through the skin), is placed within a blood vessel (transluminal = in the channel or lumen of a blood vessel) and is applied in the treatment of coronary arteries, the technique is also called PTCA or Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty. In addition to the use of simple balloon angioplasty, the availability of stainless steel stents, in a wire-mesh design, have expanded the spectrum of people suitable for percutaneous coronary intervention, as well as enhanced the safety and long-term results of the procedure. Using a guide wire called a balloon catheter, physicians insert a very small, empty and collapsed balloon into the narrow portion of the target blood vessel and momentarily inflate it to a fixed size using water pressures some 75 to 500 times normal blood pressure. The balloon crushes the fatty deposits, so opening up the blood vessel to improved flow, and the balloon is then collapsed and withdrawn. Balloon angioplasty can be used to unblock clogged arteries in the legs, arms, kidneys, brain and other parts of the body. Angioplasty can improve some of the symptoms of blocked arteries, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. Angioplasty can also be used during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce the amount of damage to your heart.