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Discharge Instructions for Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting

During your angioplasty, a doctor inserts a thin tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in your groin or wrist. The catheter is pushed through your blood vessel to a blocked area in one of your heart’s arteries. The doctor inflates a tiny balloon at the tip of the catheter and stretches the blocked vessel so blood can flow freely. The balloon is then deflated and removed with the catheter. The doctor may also insert a metal mesh tube called a stent in the blocked vessel.  The stent helps the vessel stay open.

Home care

  • Ask someone to drive you to your appointments for the next few days.

  • Rest for 2 to 3 days after the procedure. Most people are able to resume normal activity within a few days.

  • Take your temperature and check your incision for signs of infection (redness, swelling, drainage, or warmth) every day for a week. It is normal to have a small bruise or bump where the catheter was inserted.

  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses. It is important to take aspirin or other similar drugs for as long as your doctor advises.If you were also prescribed clopidogrel, prasugrel, or ticagrelor, it is very important to take these medications, as well. These drugs prevent clots that could cause a heart attack. If you have a problem with any of your drugs, call your doctor right away.

  • Unless directed otherwise, stay hydrated to help flush your body of the dye that was used during your angioplasty.

  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in fat, salt, and cholesterol. Ask your doctor for menus and other diet information.

  • Exercise according to your doctor's recommendation. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend you start a cardiac rehabilitation program.

  • Avoid swimming or taking baths for 5 to 7 days. You may shower the day after the procedure.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

 

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Chest pain or a return of the symptoms you had prior to the angioplasty

  • Constant or increasing pain or numbness in your leg, or if your leg looks blue or feels cold

  • Fever above 100.4°F (38.0°C) or other signs of infection (redness, swelling, drainage, or warmth at the incision site of the leg or wrist)

  • Shortness of breath

  • Bleeding, bruising, or a large swelling where the catheter (tube) was inserted

  • Blood in your urine

  • Black or tarry stools

Online Medical Reviewer: Foster, Sarah, RN, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 3/6/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.