With or without stent, angioplasty involves a period of short-term hospitalization. Although most patients who undergo angioplasty can resume their normal daily activities after about a week of rest, the recovery implies the observance of important steps for regaining physical vigor and avoids complications.
The patient’s condition after angioplasty
Angioplasty is a procedure commonly used to treat blockages or narrowing of coronary arteries. The goal of the intervention is to help the patient to resume their active lives and reduce considerably the risk of developing other heart problems in the future.
The procedure involves making a small puncture in the groin or wrist when given an easy local analgesic. The doctor then introduces into the hole a hollow tube called a catheter into the blood vessels that leads to the diseased artery.
Using images obtained with X-rays, specialist directs the catheter to the narrowed or blocked artery. At this point, a balloon attached to the tip of the catheter is inflated with air to stimulate proper blood circulation. If necessary, the specialist introduces a stent (stainless steel mesh tube) that will keep the artery open.
The procedure is quite simple and can be finished in just 20 minutes, except when technical difficulties are involved. Immediately after angioplasty, the patient must rest. If the catheter was inserted in the abdomen, the patient has to sit still for several hours so the puncture to heal without complications.
Many patients who undergo angioplasty may leave the medical facility the very next day after surgery. Significantly improves cardiac function immediately after unlocking or correcting the diseased coronary artery, as it benefits from new blood intake accordingly.
The patient is kept under observation in a special care unit where nurses monitor their heart rate and blood pressure. The area where the catheter was inserted will be painful and will require careful checking of color, temperature and sensation felt. Postoperative discomfort is not serious and disappears completely in a few days after surgery. Some of the side effects of angioplasty include:
Ecchymosis (bruising). It is normal to experience bruising instead of points, with a swelling around the wound (especially if the puncture was made in the abdomen). The patient should alert the doctor immediately if the area becomes inflamed and becomes red (possible signs of infection). Paracetamol can be taken for the relief of discomfort.
Constipation. It can be installed because of the followed medical treatment or because the level of activity is lower than normal. In this case, the consumption of foods rich in fiber (vegetables, fruits and whole grains), increased intake of water and gentle movement helps to regulate bowel movements.
Chest pain. After angioplasty and stent insertion, it may cause mild chest pain and chest discomfort, especially if multiple stents were installed. Symptom may persist even several weeks after surgery.
Tingling and numbness sensations. Some patients who underwent angioplasty surgery accuse the installation of sensations of numbness and tingling in one foot. This symptom is caused by the anesthetic administered and usually resolves after a few days.
Angioplasty is an effective treatment for most patients. Even so, some patients did not enjoy the long-term therapeutic effects. Coronary artery may narrow again by setting up angina and becomes necessary a new specialized intervention.
Movement after angioplasty
One of the greatest benefits of angioplasty is that it allows the patient to do more exercise than before surgery. Movement plays a role in optimal recovery and improved quality of life, with the following benefits:
Quicker recovery of the functionality cardiac device;
Low blood pressure;
Regulating body weight;
Reduces cholesterol levels;
Protecting the heart.
Exercise program may begin after a few days of rest at home if there are no of angina pectoris symptoms. Some examples of exercises that are recommended:
Walking. At your own pace, without rushing, medium and long distances. Walking 30-60 minutes a week after treatment ensure full recovery in record time.
Standing on the fingertips. Lean your arms back of a chair or a wall and raise on your tiptoes, return and repeat for 30 seconds.
March in place. Walk on the spot, like a military march, lifting your knees as high and arms swinging easily.
Lift and place upright. Sit on a hard chair (not an armchair), lean forward, lift your feet and back upright. Repeat the movement for half a minute.
Climbing and descending stairs. Place one foot on the bottom step of a staircase, and put it on the next. Lower both feet on the step and repeat, as often you succeed in 30 seconds.
Free movement of arms. Raise your hands to reach your shoulders with palms. Raise your arms in the air and spread them well, as if you try to touch the ceiling with your fingertips. Lower your arms slightly, inhaling deeply and exhaling.
A daily program of exercise, along with a diet recommended by a doctor after angioplasty, is the best way to prevent future cardiovascular diseases.