What Should I do After Angioplasty?

Lainie Petersen

After angioplasty, you will likely be kept in the hospital under the supervision of nurses for at least several hours if not overnight. Before discharge, you will be given instructions for angioplasty aftercare. These instructions may include information about wound care, medications, or symptoms of complications. You may also be advised as to pertinent lifestyle changes that can help improve your cardiac health. In fact, you may be prescribed a program of cardiac rehabilitation.

Angioplasty aftercare may include information about wound care, medications, or symptoms of complications.
Angioplasty aftercare may include information about wound care, medications, or symptoms of complications.

In angioplasty, a catheter is inserted into an artery and threaded into your cardiovascular system so as to treat blockages that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Although the procedure is both common and relatively safe, it is important that you be supervised by health care professionals immediately after surgery. You will be required to lie still for several hours afterward to give your body a chance to heal from the insertion of the catheter. In many cases, you will then be asked to get up and walk as part of your recovery. Prior to discharge from the hospital, your nurse or doctor will review necessary care procedures during your angioplasty recovery.

Once you get home, it is important that you keep an eye on the area in which the catheter was inserted. If you notice signs of possible infection, such as swelling or irritation, you will likely be instructed to contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor or nurse can tell you how long after angioplasty you should continue monitoring the area. If you received angioplasty and a stent in the area that needed dilation, you may be prescribed anti-clotting medication. It is very important that you take this medication as prescribed. You should also refrain from working or physical activity for as long as your doctor or nurse advises you to do so.

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When the initial healing process is completed after angioplasty, your doctor may wish for you to make some significant lifestyle changes, which may include addressing the way you eat and exercise as well as lowering stress in your life. Your doctor may wish for you to follow up your angioplasty by working with a nutritionist, exercise specialist, or a counselor to help you make these changes. For example, if you need to lose weight, your doctor may ask you to complete a medically supervised weight-loss program, and if you are severely overweight you may wish to look at other alternatives to help you achieve a healthy weight that does not put further strain on your cardiovascular system.

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