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|What happens after your angioplasty and stent procedure? What can you do to help facilitate a healthy recovery and manage your cardiovascular risk factors? Watch this video, provided courtesy of Boston Scientific Corporation, to learn more.
Recovery from angioplasty and stenting is typically brief. Discharge from the hospital is usually 12 to 24 hours after the catheter is removed. Many patients are able to return to work within a few days to a week after a procedure.
What to Expect at Home
After an interventional procedure, it is normal to:
Have a bruise or discolored area near where the catheter was inserted. At the same site, there may also be a small lump (which should not get bigger), soreness when pressure is applied and perhaps a small amount (one or two drops) of discharge.
Feel more tired than usual for several days. If your procedure was performed while you were having a heart attack, tiredness will last longer – perhaps as long as six weeks, the time it usually takes for healing after a heart attack.
When to Call the Doctor
If you feel chest pain like you felt before the procedure or during it when the balloon catheter was inflated in your artery. Some patients have chest pain lasting one to two seconds. Typically, they say it feels different from the pain they felt before the procedure. These brief pains are often muscular and are not related to the heart.
If the puncture wound in your leg or arm (the access site) gets bigger, turns red, drains a thick yellow/brown material or is painful, even when no pressure is applied. A larger, painful lump may be a sign that the puncture hole is not healing properly or is leaking blood.
When to Call 911 or Go to the Hospital
Activities After Your Procedure
Always follow your doctor’s instructions about the activity level appropriate for you. A general guide is:
For the first five days, do only light activities. Walking, climbing stairs and taking care of routine activities are usually fine. After five days, your doctor will likely say you can resume moderate activities, but you should avoid over-exertion that leads to shortness of breath, tiredness or chest pain.
Once you leave the hospital, your post-procedure care will be two-fold. You will need to take care of yourself by taking medications exactly as prescribed, as well as making lifestyle changes such as exercising, improving your diet and quitting smoking (if you smoke). You should also have at least one follow-up appointment with your treating interventional cardiologist or another qualified specialist if you are not able to return to your treating physician. At this appointment, your interventional cardiologist will examine the catheter insertion site to be sure it is healing properly.
Occasionally, your doctor may also ask you to take an exercise stress test three to six weeks after your procedure. The results of the test will help guide your doctor in recommending an appropriate level of activity for you. The results may lead to a recommendation that you enroll in an exercise program supervised by health professionals. Supervised cardiac rehabilitation programs are designed to help you build a stronger heart and reduce risk factors for more blocked arteries in the future.
Learn More About Angioplasty and Stenting
To learn more about angioplasty and stents, including when this procedure is recommended and how it is performed, click here.