After Angioplasty Surgery: What’s Next?

There are some recovery aspects patients should take into consideration after angioplasty surgery. They won’t be allowed to leave the hospital for 24-48 hours after the intervention, depending on how long the access site will need to heal. Patients are closely monitored in order to avoid the complications risk and only after they’re out of danger they’ll go home.

Due to the fact that they won’t be totally sedated during the intervention, patients might have some angina feelings when the balloon is inflated and a slight discomfort in the incision area. Chest pain after angioplasty is not abnormal, especially after the catheter is removed and the access site sealed. However, the doctor should be informed with all the post-operative symptoms.

Immediately after the surgery, the patients are administrated blood thinners to prevent the appearance of blood clot. The introducer and the catheter will be removed only after the doctor decides that the recovery process is evolving positively. Sometimes, the process is easier to pass-over if the family or the dearest ones support the patient and encourage him all the time.

The patients will take aspirin daily, for the rest of their life after angioplasty surgery in order to decrease the risk of restenosis (another blockage in the exact same area of the vessel). This condition appears in one out of three interventions and it is treatable only by doing a new angioplasty surgery. Some persons simply have a predisposition to this kind of conditions and others just don’t respect the recovery program. However, it’s not something a patient can control, but he can prevent it by following the doctor’s instructions.

Once they get home, patients should not make excesses and avoid as mush as possible to lift heavy things (over 5-10 pounds) in the recovery period, avoid showering in the first 24-48 hours and baths for several days. They’re also advised to drink plenty of liquids and have a low-fat diet.

There is a series of exercise after angioplasty that can last up to 12 weeks and they’re meant to normalize the cardiac activity and rehabilitate the blood circulation. The program is attentively monitored and lasts one hour several times per week (3-4 times). Walking is often recommended, as it easily puts blood in circulation and enables the lungs to better oxygenate it.

On the long run, an angioplasty surgery requires a radical change of a person’s lifestyle. People who have suffered from atherosclerosis have to stop smoking, reduce weight and have a low-fat diet, control their blood pressure and the amount of glucose (diabetes, if the case) and to diminish the cholesterol level. The last measure can be taken also by medicines that not only decrease the blood cholesterol level, but also reduce the risks of a future heart attack.

Patients will come back to the hospital 3-4 times a year to have a periodical medical exam. Depending on their evolution, patients can easily return to their activities and have a normal life – in the above specified limits. Recovering after angioplasty surgery is not as difficult as it might seem and, if no complications appear, the patient will feel as if it never took place at all.