Coronary angioplasty is a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) performed to open clogged arteries in the heart. It is a much less invasive alternative to bypass surgery for some patients. With this procedure, the surgeon first performs a cardiac catheterization, in which he or she inserts a narrow catheter from the groin or wrist and threads it through the blood vessels to the point of the blockage. Next, a small balloon and a wire mesh tube called a stent are directed to the location of the blockage via guidewire through the catheter, and the balloon is slowly inflated. As the balloon expands, it opens the stent and widens the artery. Upon completion of the procedure, the balloon is extracted and the stent stays in place. Patients who have been experiencing the symptoms of blocked arteries, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, usually notice an immediate reduction in their discomfort following angioplasty surgery.