Recovering from an Angioplasty

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After undergoing a coronary angioplasty procedure, your cardiologist will inform you of the following:

  • The medication you will need
  • How to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eating plan
  • How to care for your wound
  • Recommended dates for a follow-up visit

You will be allowed to leave the hospital on the same day, but bear in mind the following as you recover:

  • Your skin may be bruised at the site of catheterisation and may feel uncomfortable for a few days.
  • There is a risk of infection, so be sure to keep the area clean.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and vigorous exercise while you recover.
  • Avoid driving for about a week after the angioplasty
  • If you have undergone a planned angioplasty procedure, you will need to take about a week off work.
  • If you have undergone an emergency procedure, you will need to take several weeks or months off work.

If you experience any of the following after your procedure, speak to your doctor as soon as possible:

  • A hard lump under the skin at the site of insertion
  • Pain and/or swelling at the site of insertion
  • Fever
  • Bleeding at the site of insertion
  • Numbness in the arm or leg where the insertion was made
  • Discolouration in the arm or leg where the insertion was made
  • Coldness in the arm or leg where the insertion was made

After your angioplasty procedure, your doctor will prescribe certain medications such as aspirin and pain relief medicine to aid your recovery. You may need to take blood-thinning medication for up to a year. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of low-dose aspirin (which you may need to take indefinitely) and clopidogrel, prasugrel, or ticagrelor (which you may need to take for about a year). Remember to adhere to your doctor's instructions when it comes to your medication, as stopping your medication will increase your risk of a heart attack. If your symptoms are not resolved or return after a time, your doctor may recommend a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) or another coronary angioplasty.

Proper rehabilitation is very important after your procedure. Speak to your doctor about a suitable programme, which will help you return to a healthy lifestyle. Your doctor may recommend the following lifestyle changes:

  • Maintain healthy body weight. This may require weight loss.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Follow a healthy, balanced eating plan.
  • Exercise regularly