Glossary Entry: Balloon Catheter


Definition: A balloon catheter is a medical device used to treat various conditions by inflating a balloon at the tip of the catheter to open narrow or blocked blood vessels, or to assist with the placement of other medical devices.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Balloon catheters come in different sizes and designs, including semi-compliant and non-compliant balloons, as well as specialty balloons for specific medical procedures.


Common Uses: Balloon catheters are commonly used in angioplasty procedures to dilate narrowed or blocked arteries, as well as in the deployment of stents and other interventional devices.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The balloon catheter is inserted into the blood vessel and advanced to the site of the blockage. The balloon is then inflated to compress the plaque or clot, opening up the vessel and restoring blood flow.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications of using a balloon catheter include vessel damage, dissection, or the formation of emboli that can lead to further blockages.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Proper care and maintenance of balloon catheters involve ensuring sterility, inspecting for any damage before use, and following manufacturer guidelines for storage and handling.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Related devices include guide wires, sheaths, and stents, which are often used in conjunction with balloon catheters during interventional procedures.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in balloon catheter technology include improved balloon materials, better tracking and visualization features, and more precise inflation control.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: The use of balloon catheters is subject to regulatory guidelines to ensure patient safety and device effectiveness. It is important to adhere to these regulations when using the device in medical practice.