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Your Care in the Hospital

Medical professionals move a man down the hall on a wheeled bed.

When you first arrived at the hospital, you were likely checked into the emergency room. You may then have been brought to the coronary care unit (CCU) or intensive care unit (ICU). Your hospital stay may last from 3 to 5 or more day.

Tests you may have

Certain tests and treatments are done in the hospital. Some may be done after you are released.

  • Blood tests help measure the amount of damage in the heart muscle. They also check kidney and liver function and blood cholesterol levels.

  • A blood pressure test measures the force of blood flow against artery walls.

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG) shows the heart’s electric activity.

  • An echocardiogram shows if the heat is beating effectively. It also shows the heart structure and areas of possible damage.

  • An angiogram shows blockages in the coronary arteries. It may be followed with treatment called angioplasty and stenting.

  • An exercise stress test measures the heart’s response to physical stress. It also detects areas of heart muscle that have reduced blood supply.

  • A nuclear scan shows the heart’s blood flow and pumping ability.

Treatments you may have

Medications and procedures may be used in the hospital, either right after you arrive or as you recover. These methods help restore blood flow and heal arteries.


Medications can be given to dissolve clots. These clot-busting medications are put into the bloodstream or delivered directly to the clot. The sooner these medications are started, the better the chance of preventing heart muscle damage. Other medications may be given for long-term use.

Angioplasty and stenting

During angioplasty, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is thread through an artery to the blocked portion of the artery. A balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to flatten plaque against the artery wall. This widens the channel through the artery, which improves blood flow. In most cases, a stent (small wire mesh tube) is placed to provide support and help keep the path of blood flow open.  

Coronary artery bypass graft surgery

This surgery is also called CABG (“cabbage”). A piece of healthy blood vessel (graft) is taken from the arm, chest, or leg. The graft is attached to allow blood to go around blockages and flow to healthy heart muscle.


Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 6/1/2013
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