Life after angioplasty

  • By Dr. Arijit Ghosh


Angioplasty is performed by a trained heart specialist in a special operation theatre called cardiac catheterization laboratory. General anesthesia is not required for the procedure. The patient remains awake but sedated. The procedure is performed through a blood vessel near the groin.

Post-operative period

Stay in the hospital:

The patient usually stays for one day in the hospital after the procedure. However, multiple factors are considered by the doctor before the discharge of the patient from the hospital. Some of these factors are past history of the diseases, attitude of the care providers at home, individual factors of the patient, etc.

Release from the hospital:

When the patient is discharged he or she must note the following:

  1. The patient must review and follow the instructions provided by the doctor, nurse, dietitian, and other health care providers.
  2. One must carry all the medications during discharge so that medications can be started as soon as the patient reaches home.
  3. The patient or the family should arrange an attendant for the patient for initial few days to provide necessary help.

Life at home

  1. Medications :

    The patient must take all the medications at appropriate time and at appropriate dosage as prescribed by the heart specialist. Anti-clotting medications as prescribed by the doctor should be taken with utmost sincerity. These medications help the patient to prevent formation of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. No such medication must be stopped or resumed without consultation of the doctor.

  2. Report chest pain :

    Any episode of chest pain must be reported to the doctor. If the pain persists for more than 10 minutes, then the patient is advised to repost to the hospital for further review.

  3. Check for bleeding :

    Entry point of the procedure, most commonly groin, should be looked for bleeding. If there is bleeding and it is not stopped by applying pressure, the patient should visit hospital.

  4. Watch for swelling :

    Swelling over any part of the body due to collection of blood underneath the skin may occur as a complication of the procedure. In such case, the patient must visit the emergency department of the hospital as soon as swelling is noticed.

  5. Restrict activity :

    The patient must take adequate rest for initial 5-7 days. Normal activities should be resumed gradually.

Follow-up visit

The patient should visit the doctor 10-14 days after the procedure or sooner as recommended by the doctor.

Life style changes

Life style modifications are as important as medications for future well being of the patient. Advice of the doctor should be carefully followed. Dietary modifications must be done in consultation with the dietitian. The patient should undergo cardiac rehabilitation program that include exercise testing, counseling, and starting an exercise schedule.

With the help of healthy life style, medications, counseling, advice of the doctor, and support of the family the patient can resume his or her normal life and activity gradually.