What is Stenting?
A stent is often placed during angioplasty to help keep the artery open. This small tube acts as a scaffold to support the inside of your artery. A balloon catheter, placed over a guidewire, puts the stent into your narrowed coronary artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated, and the stent expands to the size of the artery and holds it open. The balloon is then deflated and removed while the stent stays in place. Over several weeks, your artery heals around the stent.
Recovery from your Angioplasty & Stenting Procedure
Recovery from angioplasty and stenting is typically brief. Many patients can return to work within a few days to a week after a procedure. Angioplasty restores blood flow to the heart by opening narrowed or blocked coronary arteries without open surgery.
Angioplasty is performed in a special operating room called a catheterization laboratory.
In addition to relaxing sedatives, patients receive a local anesthetic to numb the catheter insertion site. The doctor uses a needle to make a small incision in the arm or groin. The needle inserts into a tapered tube, called a sheath, into the hole. A catheter with a balloon in its tip is inserted through the sheath. An imaging method called fluoroscopy guides the needle to the blocked artery. With the tip at the site of the blockage, the balloon is expanded. The balloon pushes the plaque against the artery wall and relieves the blockage.
When the procedure is complete, the doctor removes the catheter and sheath. Then they close the opening in the blood vessel. The patient is then moved to a special care unit, where he or she will recover anywhere from a few hours to overnight. During recovery, the care team monitors the patient’s vital signs. Additionally, they will ensure the catheter insertion site closes properly.
After Your Procedure
You will need to increase your activity slowly while the incision heals.
- Walking short distances on a flat surface is OK. Try to walk a little bit 3 or 4 times a day. Slowly increase how far you walk each time.
- Limit going up and down stairs to about two times a day for the first 2 to 3 days.
- DO NOT do yard work, drive, or play sports for at least two days or for the number of days your health care provider tells you to wait.
You will need to care for your incision.
- After your procedure, we tell you how often to change your dressing.
- If your incision bleeds or swells up, lie down and put pressure on it for 30 minutes.
When you are resting, try to keep your legs raised above the level of your heart. Place pillows or blankets under your legs to raise them.
Angioplasty does not cure the cause of blockage in your arteries. Your arteries may become narrow again. To lower your chances of this happening:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking (if you smoke), and reduce your stress level.
- Take medicine to help lower your cholesterol if your provider prescribes it.
- If you are taking medicines for blood pressure or diabetes, take them the way your provider has asked you to take them.
If you have Peripheral Artery Disease
Angioplasty and stents help prevent arteries from becoming narrow or blocked again in the months or years after the procedure. Continuing the lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor can help prevent plaque from building up in your arteries again. You should also take all medicines as your doctor prescribes. Your doctor may also suggest taking statins, which are medicines that lower blood cholesterol levels, further preventing the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
If you have PAD or if you are concerned that you may have it, contact us at Coastal Vascular Center today. We have various treatment options and can work with you on strategies to lower your risk of peripheral artery disease.