Balloon catheters are a simple and effective procedure used to treat blocked arteries, tumors, and other conditions. It has been used since the 1960s and has proven successful in more than one-million operations worldwide. The balloon is made up of two parts: an inflatable balloon containing air or fluid and a deflated sheath inserted into the area of interest. The balloon catheter works by inserting the sheath into the area, inflating it, and deflating it once the desired change has been made. Besides their use in blocked arteries, balloon catheters are also used in the urinary tract to check urine flow and clear blockages.
Importance of Balloon Catheters in Healthcare
1. Efficient Treatment for Blocked Arteries
The cardiovascular system is crucial to one’s health and survival. Thus, it should be no surprise that the balloon catheter has been used to unblock arteries when other modes of treatment have proven ineffective or dangerous. Patients who suffer from blocked arteries present a number of symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath. One common cause of blocked arteries is the formation of plaque or fatty deposits on the walls. When blockages occur, blood flow is restricted, resulting in angina or heart attacks.
2. Treatment for Tumors
The balloon catheter has also proved effective in dealing with several types of tumors, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This non-cancerous tumor causes the prostate gland to swell, restricting the flow of urine. The balloon catheter is inserted in much the same way as blocked arteries are dealt with, which results in relief for patients.
3. Clear Passage of Urine
The balloon catheter can also be used to clear blockages to ensure the proper flow of urine. The balloon is inserted into the urethra to ensure that this passage is open and clear. This procedure can be completed quickly, which means no recovery time for patients.
4. Treatment not Relying on Surgery
Surgery presents inherent risks but also has the potential to provide lasting results, so it should come as no surprise that many prefer this method of treatment. However, it is not always an option for some patients because of the potential risks or other health conditions that can be aggravated by surgery. Some treatments are best suited to non-surgical options instead. When this type of treatment is available, it should be sought out as a safer alternative to surgery.
5. Side Effects are Minimal or Nonexistent
The balloon catheter is effective at treating blockages of the arteries without causing too many side effects. The only complication that may arise involves excess pressure on the kidneys, which can cause them to shut down, but this is rare. Most patients do not experience any side effects after the procedure has been completed.
There are several benefits associated with balloon catheters, but one that is often overlooked is their affordability. Compared to other medical equipment and treatments, the balloon catheter is relatively inexpensive, meaning it can be used in cases where finances might limit a patient’s options.
7. Versatility and Potential for Future Use
The balloon catheter continues to prove itself as a viable treatment option in several areas of care. It can treat both benign and cancerous tumors, blocked arteries, and problems with urine flow, making it an attractive choice. As such, these procedures must continue to be offered because they do not require the use of surgery.