Even with the best modern techniques, the blockage can return. Up to 20% of all angioplasty patients who have a stent inserted during the procedure will have blocked arteries again within six months.
An extensive study published in 2007 found that over 40% of all angioplasty patients end up having bypass surgery within 10 years. By comparison, fewer than 4% of bypass patients need the operation again over the same period of time.
Angioplasties are often an essential treatment for heart attack patients. As with all parts of heart attack care, timing is crucial.
A Duke University study found that, for many heart attack patients, angioplasty performed more than three days after the attack didn't seem to prevent another attack. Researchers concluded that the procedure should begin within 12 hours.