- 1 Overview
- 2 When could I drive after the procedure?
- 3 What medications should I take after the procedure?
- 4 Should I take any OTC pain medications?
- 5 When may I resume my regular activities?
- 6 When could I bathe or swim?
- 7 When can I go back to work?
- 8 Follow-up care
- 9 When to seek urgent medical care?
- 10 Sources
If you have coronary artery disease, the arteries in your heart are narrowed or blocked by a sticky material called plaque. Angioplasty is a procedure to restore blood flow through the artery. The doctor threads a thin tube through a blood vessel in the arm or groin up to the involved site in the artery. The tube has a tiny balloon on the end. When the tube is in place, the doctor inflates the balloon to push the plaque outward against the wall of the artery. This widens the artery and restores blood flow. Doctors may use angioplasty to:
- Reduce chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart
- Minimize damage to heart muscle from a heart attack
When could I drive after the procedure?
You should not drive for 48 hours after the procedure.
What medications should I take after the procedure?
- Aspirin every day – usually for the rest of your life. Ask your doctor about the dose you should take.
- Plavix (clopidogrel) and Effient (prasugrel) may be used in addition to Aspirin to decrease the risk of a blood clot forming in the heart artery.
You will be given a list of all medicines you should take once you are at home. Ask your doctor whether you should go back to taking the medications you were on before the procedure. Be sure your doctor knows about everything you are taking.
Should I take any OTC pain medications?
You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) every six hours as needed for pain in the area where the catheter was placed. Please be sure you are not taking more than one product containing acetaminophen, and do not take more Tylenol than what is recommended on the label.
When may I resume my regular activities?
You may resume your regular activities one week after the procedure. Avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling anything heavier than 10 pounds in the first week after the procedure. Also avoid any exercise that causes you to hold your breath and bear down with your abdominal muscles. Begin your exercise program one week after the procedure at half your usual routine, then gradually work back to your full routine. Please ask your doctor about your exercise instructions.
When could I bathe or swim?
Usually after one week, when the puncture site is healed. This usually takes about a week.
You may shower on the day after the procedure after removing the Band-Aid over your puncture site.
When can I go back to work?
It depends on the type of your work. You can ask your doctor when you can go back to work.
Make an appointment to see your doctor within two weeks.
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your doctor if:
- There is bleeding at the catheter insertion site that does not stop when you apply pressure.
- There is swelling at the catheter site.
- Your leg or arm below where the catheter was inserted changes color, becomes cool to touch, or is numb.
- The small incision for your catheter becomes red or painful, or yellow or green discharge is draining from it.
- You have chest pain or shortness of breath that does not go away with rest.
- Your pulse feels irregular — very slow (fewer than 60 beats), or very fast (over 100 to 120 beats) a minute.
- You have dizziness, fainting, or you are very tired.
- You are coughing up blood or yellow or green mucus.
- You have problems taking any of your heart medicines.
- You have chills or a fever over 101 °F.