Understanding Laser Angioplasty: A Breakthrough Treatment for Heart Block

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Sparshi Srivastava, last updated on 15 December 2023
Understanding Laser Angioplasty: A Breakthrough Treatment for Heart Block

Laser angioplasty, introduced in the early 1980s, is an innovative technique for managing cardiovascular diseases, such as obstructions and internal damage. It is a laser-assisted procedure to open heart blockages and is used as an adjunctive therapy with traditional percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). 

Murthy (2013) stated that the procedural success rate of laser angioplasty is between 85% and 93%. For those with a blocked heart artery and who do not want to undergo invasive surgery, laser treatment for heart block is the option. Read on for a detailed overview of the procedure, its benefits and potential risks.

What is Laser Angioplasty?

Laser angioplasty is a minimally invasive medical procedure to treat blockages or narrowed blood vessels. This innovative procedure uses the precision of laser technology to vaporise fat and cholesterol deposits (plaque) and other substances (calcium and cellular wastes) blocking the heart arteries. It removes the blockages from the blood vessels, enabling appropriate blood circulation.

The procedure-associated risks of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) encouraged the development of an alternative laser treatment approach for heart block to address the shortcomings. Unlike PCI, where the substances causing the plaque are compressed, laser treatment for heart block vaporises the obstruction. It helps manage untreatable locations and minimises the rate of complications or restenosis (contraction in the diameter of the blood vessel post-PCI).

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Who Needs Laser Angioplasty?

Laser treatment for heart block is suitable for people with health conditions that cause narrowing of the coronary arteries while decreasing the blood flow. These include the following:

  1. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Laser heart surgery is often considered for individuals with CAD. It is performed when traditional angioplasty or stent placement is not feasible due to heavily blocked arteries.
  2. Severe Arterial Blockages: It may be suitable for individuals with severe atherosclerotic blockages causing angina (chest pain) or increasing the risk of heart attack. It helps restore the blood circulation, relieving the symptoms.
  3. Coronary Artery Calcification: Calcified deposits may require laser angioplasty for effective plaque removal. The procedure helps remove calcium and plaque deposition from the coronary artery.
  4. Concomitant Arterial and Electrical Issues: It is beneficial in cases where both arterial blockages and heart block coexist.

Benefits of Laser Angioplasty

Laser treatment for blocked heart arteries offers the following benefits:

  1. Improved Blood Flow: Laser treatment for heart block restores proper blood flow, alleviating symptoms like chest pain and risk of heart attack.
  2. Precision: Laser treatment for heart block uses high-power ultraviolet pulses. These precisely target and evaporate the plaque, reducing the risk of damage to arterial walls.
  3. Efficacy: It is effective for heavily calcified lesions where traditional angioplasty may be less effective.
  4. Minimally Invasive: It is a laparoscopic procedure requiring minimal to no incision. Reduced invasion reduces the risk of complications associated with open surgeries.
  5. Reduced Scars: Smaller incisions mean less scarring and quicker recovery, unlike open-heart surgery
  6. Shorter Hospital Stays: It facilitates shorter hospital stays and a faster return to daily activities.
  7. Customisation: The laser treatment procedure for heart block can be tailored to your unique blockage removal needs, offering personalised and dedicated treatment options.

What to Expect Before and On the Day of Laser Angioplasty?

Before Laser Angioplasty

The surgical team follows some guidelines before surgery, ensuring the patient's well-being.



Pre-op Assessment (Physical)

  1. Blood Tests

  2. Echocardiogram

  3. X-Ray

Risk Evaluation

  1. Allergies

  2. Current Medications

  3. Surgery benefits vs risks

Anaesthesia Selection



12 hours

On the Day of Laser Angioplasty

Just before surgery, the patient must prepare for the following steps:





Surgical Prep

  1. Sterilising catheterization lab (cath lab)

  2. Hospital Gown

  3. Briefing of procedure

  4. Cleaning of surgical site 

Physical Evaluation

Vitals check-up (Blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, etc.)

IV Line


Anaesthesia administration

Local anaesthesia through groyne or wrist

How is Laser Angioplasty for a Blocked Heart Artery Performed?

Laser treatment for blocked heart arteries is typically done in the following steps(2):

  1. Catheter Insertion: A flexible tube is inserted into the blood vessels through the chosen entry point. It is then carefully threaded through the vascular system until it reaches the blocked coronary artery.
  2. Guidewire Placement: An even thinner wire is passed through the catheter and into the blocked artery. It helps guide the catheter to the accurate location of the blockage.
  3. Laser Fibre Insertion: Once the catheter is correctly positioned, a laser fibre is passed over the guidewire. It emits high-intensity, focused light energy.
  4. Laser Ablation: The laser is activated, and its energy is directed at the plaque buildup within the artery. It dissolves the plaque, breaking it down into smaller particles. This process opens up the artery, restoring blood flow.
  5. Monitoring: The medical team monitors the progress using fluoroscopy or intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) throughout the procedure. This is done to ensure the blockage is accurately treated.
  6. Completion and Recovery: Once the procedure is successful, the blockage is cleared, and the catheter is carefully removed. Pressure may be applied at the insertion site to prevent bleeding. The patient is then observed for a few hours in a recovery area.

What to Expect After Laser Angioplasty Treatment?

After the surgery, the medical team will closely monitor your vital signs in a recovery area and then shift you to your designated bed.

The recovery time could range from a few days to a few weeks. It depends on your overall health and the complexity of the procedure.

In-Hospital Recovery

  1. Wound Care:  The medical team will care for the wound at the incision point to keep it clean and dry. 
  2. Medications: Your doctor may prescribe painkillers and blood thinners to help manage post-operative pain and prevent complications.
  3. Hospital Stay: It varies from one person to the other. While some may get discharged on the same day, others might stay at the Hospital overnight, depending on their specific condition and procedure complexity.

At-Home Recovery 

  1. Diet: Patients must drink 6-8 glasses of water. It maintains hydration and helps detox your body. Maintain a healthy, balanced diet rich in fibre and nutrients. Avoid food containing saturated fat to prevent cholesterol buildup in your arteries.
  2. Physical Activity: Avoid lifting heavy objects and strenuous physical activities for at least 24 hours post-discharge. It may strain the wound. Exercise regularly as advised by your doctor.
  3. Lifestyle Changes: Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, monitor them regularly to detect and treat potential complications.

Risk and Complications of Laser Angioplasty

Although laser angioplasty is a safe and effective treatment option, it might have some risks and potential complications:

  1. Bleeding: The catheter insertion site can lead to bleeding or hematoma formation (a bruise that causes blood to accumulate under the skin).
  2. Allergic Reactions: Some patients may suffer allergic reactions to the contrast dye used in the procedure.
  3. Arterial Spasm: Coronary spasms (abrupt contraction of the arteries) may occur during the recovery period after laser treatment for heart block. 
  4. Dissection: The procedure can cause arterial dissection (separating the arterial layers).
  5. Infection: Although minimal, there is a risk of infection at the catheter insertion site.
  6. Restenosis: Rarely after getting laser treatment for heart block, recurrent narrowing of the treated artery (restenosis) can occur.

When is Consultation with a Doctor Needed?

The first follow-up is generally scheduled one week after the surgery. Then, the doctor will likely schedule the appointment every three to six months for the first year (depending on your overall health).

During the assessment, the healthcare practitioner performs a physical examination. They may order a stress test to detect potential worsening of your cardiovascular condition. 

However, consultation with a doctor is essential if any unusual symptoms or concerns arise after laser angioplasty for blocked heart arteries. These include :

  1. Persistent or worsening chest pain with no relief by medications
  2. Unusual bleeding or signs of infection at the catheter insertion site
  3. Sudden onset of severe shortness of breath
  4. Irregular heart rhythms, especially while performing physical activities
  5. Swelling, redness, or warmth at the catheter insertion site

Risks of Delaying Laser Angioplasty

Delaying laser treatment for heart block can entail risks and complications:

  1. The procedure efficacy decreases over time as complex or worsened blockages are challenging to treat.
  2. Arterial blockages worsen, increasing the risk of heart attacks or other cardiovascular events.
  3. Symptoms like chest pain (angina) may become more prominent and intense.
  4. Increased chances of undergoing more invasive and higher-risk techniques like coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and pacemaker implantation.
  5. Prolonged reduced blood flow can lead to severe damage or rupture of heart muscle tissue.

Estimated Cost of Laser Angioplasty in India

The approximate cost of laser angioplasty in India is between ₹50000 to ₹250000. However, the prices and overall expense varies significantly due to various aspects like patients' conditions, chosen Hospital and doctor, and more.

Surgery Name

Estimated Cost

Coronary Angioplasty

₹50000 to ₹250000


In conclusion, laser angioplasty for treating blocked heart arteries offers a promising solution for patients seeking effective and minimally invasive intervention. With timely consultation and adherence to post-procedure guidelines, this innovative procedure can contribute to improved heart health.

Do you have any inquiries about laser angioplasty or need information on other medical procedures? Do not hesitate to reach out to a HexaHealth specialist. HexaHealth is your comprehensive healthcare resource, addressing all your medical needs under one roof!

Suggested Reads

Heart Attack - Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Treatment
Heart Failure
Heart Valve Disease - Symptoms, Causes, Signs and Treatment
Ischemic Heart Disease - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions

Is laser treatment through heart block possible?

Yes, laser treatment for heart block can effectively clear blocked arteries. This restores normal blood flow to the heart.

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What is laser angioplasty treatment for heart block?

Laser angioplasty is a medical procedure that employs laser technology to remove blockages in coronary arteries. It is beneficial for addressing heart block

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How does laser angioplasty work to treat heart block?

Laser angioplasty works by directing a laser beam to vaporise or dissolve the obstructions within the arteries. This restores proper blood flow to the heart.

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What are the indications of laser heart surgery?

Laser heart surgery is typically indicated for individuals with significant blockages in their coronary arteries. It is primarily done when it leads to conditions like heart block.

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What types of heart block can be treated with laser angioplasty?

Laser angioplasty effectively treats heart block caused by coronary artery blockages, making it a suitable option for such cases.

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Is laser angioplasty a common treatment for heart block?

Yes, laser angioplasty is a widely used and minimally invasive approach to treat heart block caused by artery blockages.

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What are the benefits of using laser angioplasty for heart block treatment?

The benefits of laser angioplasty include :

  1. High precision

  2. Reduced risk of complications

  3. Quick recovery period

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Are there any risks or complications associated with laser angioplasty?

Risks associated with laser angioplasty may include:

  1. Bleeding

  2. Vessel damage

  3. Heart attack (in rare cases)

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How is laser angioplasty performed for heart block patients?

In the procedure, a catheter with a laser tip is guided into the affected arteries. Then, a laser is used to clear the blockages.

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What is the success rate of laser angioplasty in treating heart block?

The success rate can vary but is generally more than 88%. Many patients experience significant improvement in heart block symptoms.

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Is laser angioplasty a minimally invasive procedure?

Yes, laser angioplasty is minimally invasive, typically involving small incisions and a quicker recovery compared to traditional open-heart surgery.

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How does laser angioplasty compare to traditional treatments for heart block?

Laser angioplasty is less invasive compared to traditional open-heart surgery. It can provide similar benefits for treating heart block.

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How is recovery after laser angioplasty for heart block?

Recovery is generally swift. The post-operative pain is less, making it a preferred choice for many patients.

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Can Laser Angioplasty prevent the recurrence of Heart Block?

It can improve blood flow and heart block symptoms. But, it may not always prevent the condition from recurring.

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Are there any specific considerations for laser angioplasty in heart block cases?

Patient suitability and the condition of the coronary arteries contribute significantly in determining the effectiveness of laser angioplasty.

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Can laser angioplasty be used as a standalone treatment?

Depending on the individual's condition, laser angioplasty can be used as the only treatment or in combination with other procedures.

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What advancements have been made in laser angioplasty technology for heart block treatment?

Advances in technology include:

  1. Improved precision in laser technology

  2. Enhanced design of catheters

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How can individuals determine if laser angioplasty is suitable for their heart block condition?

Individuals should consult a cardiologist for a personalised assessment and determine whether laser angioplasty is the right choice for their heart block.

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All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.

  1. Mahmood, Uzair A., and Georges Hajj. “Excimer Laser Coronary Angioplasty.” PubMed, StatPearls Publishing, 2021link
  2. Atherosclerosis - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. www.urmc.rochester.edu.link
  3. Omeh DJ, Shlofmitz E. Restenosis [Internet]. PubMed. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023.link
  4. Laser Angioplasty - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics [Internet]. www.sciencedirect.comlink
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff. Coronary angioplasty and stents - Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayoclinic.org. 2021.link
  6. Rassaf T, Steiner S, Kelm M. Postoperative Care and Follow-Up After Coronary Stenting. Deutsches Aerzteblatt Online [Internet]. 2013 Feb 1;110(5)link
  7. Hollman J, Austin GE, Gruentzig AR, Douglas JS, King SB. Coronary artery spasm at the site of angioplasty in the first 2 months after successful percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 1983 Dec 1;2(6):1039–45.link
  8. Deckelbaum LI, Desai SP, Kim CH, Scott JJ. Evaluation of a fluorescence feedback system for guidance of laser angioplasty. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. 1995 Jan 1;16(3):226–34.link
  9. Kaul A, Dhalla PS, Bapatla A, Khalid R, Garcia J, Armenta-Quiroga AS, et al. Current Treatment Modalities for Calcified Coronary Artery Disease: A Review Article Comparing Novel Intravascular Lithotripsy and Traditional Rotational Atherectomy. Cureus. 2020 Oct 12;link
  10. Hollman J, Austin GE, Gruentzig AR, Douglas JS, King SB. Coronary artery spasm at the site of angioplasty in the first 2 months after successful percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 1983 Dec 1;2(6):1039–45.link

Updated on : 15 December 2023


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Sparshi Srivastava

Sparshi Srivastava

B.Tech Biotechnology (Bansal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Lucknow)

2 Years Experience

An ardent reader, graduated in B.Tech Biotechnology. She was previously associated with medical sciences secondary research and writing. With a keen interest and curiosity-driven approach, she has been able to cont...View More

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