Coronary Balloon Angioplasty and Stent
Are These Procedures Considered To Be Surgical Procedures?
No. Cardiac catheterization and interventional procedures are not considered to be surgical procedures because there is no large incision used to open the chest, and the recovery time from catheterization is much shorter than that of surgery.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended afterward, depending on the results of the procedure.
Will I Be Awake For The Procedure?
Yes. You will be given a mild sedative to relax you, but you will be awake and conscious during the entire procedure. The doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb the catheter insertion site.
How Long Do The Procedures Take To Perform?
Plan on staying at the hospital all day for the procedure and remaining in the hospital overnight.
Does An Interventional Procedure Cure Coronary Artery Disease?
For most people, interventional procedures increase blood flow to the heart, diminish chest pain, and decrease the risk of a heart attack.
Although an interventional procedure opens up blocked arteries, it does not cure coronary artery disease. You will still need to reduce your risk factors and make certain lifestyle changes to prevent future disease development or progression.
To achieve the best results, you must be committed to living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Your healthcare team can help you achieve your goals, but it is up to you to take your medications as prescribed, make dietary changes, quit smoking, exercise regularly, keep your follow-up appointments, and be an active member of the treatment team.
What Are the Possible Risks of the Procedure?
If you need to have a cardiac catheterization or an interventional procedure, your cardiologist will discuss the specific risks and potential benefits of the recommended procedure with you.
Some of the possible risks of cardiac catheterization and interventional procedures include:
- Allergic reaction to the medication or contrast material used during the procedure
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Bleeding at the catheter insertion site
- Continued chest pain or angina
- Mild to moderate skin reactions from X-ray exposure
- Kidney failure
- Heart attack, blood clots, stroke, or death
- Acute closure of coronary artery
- Emergency coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery
There may be other possible risks. When you meet with your doctor, please ask questions to make sure you understand why the procedure is recommended and what all of the potential risks are.
Before the Procedure
Discuss your medications with your physician; he or she may want to stop or adjust the doses several days prior to or on the day of as well as immediately after the procedure, especially those listed below:
- Anticoagulant medications
- Diabetes medications
How to Prepare
- The preprocedure tests that are necessary before your cardiac catheterization
- Do not drink or eat anything for 8 hours before the procedure
- Tell your doctor if you are allergic to anything
What to Bring
- Someone to drive you home after your procedure
- Toiletries and any other items you would like to make your stay more comfortable
After the Procedure
Care for the Insertion Site
Procedures may be performed in the femoral artery in the groin or in the radial artery in your arm. When you go home, there will be a bandage over the catheter insertion site.
The morning after your procedure, you may take the bandage off. The easiest way to do this is when you are showering and then getting the tape and bandage wet to remove it.
After the bandage is removed, cover the area with a small adhesive bandage. It is normal for the catheter insertion site to be black and blue for a couple of days. The site may also be slightly swollen and pink, and there may be a small lump at the site.
Wash the catheter insertion site at least once daily with soap and water. Place soapy water on your hand or washcloth and gently wash the insertion site, but do not rub.
Important things to note:
- When you are not showering, keep the area clean and dry
- Do not use creams, lotions, or ointment on the wound site
- Wear loose clothes and loose underwear
- Do not take a bath, go in a jacuzzi, or go swimming in a pool for one week
Your doctor will tell you when you can resume activities. In general, you will need to take it easy for the first two days after you get home. You can expect to feel tired and weak the day after the procedure. Take walks around your house and plan to rest during the day.
For femoral cardiac catheterization (groin):
- To prevent bleeding, do not strain during bowel movements for the first 3 to 4 days after the procedure
- Avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects for the first 5 to 7 days after the procedure.
- Do not participate in strenuous activities (jogging, golfing, tennis, etc.) for 5 days after the procedure
- Walk up and down stairs more slowly than usual
- Within one week after the procedure, gradually increase your activities until you reach your normal activity level
For radial cardiac catheterization (wrist):
- Do not participate in strenuous activities (jogging, golfing, tennis, etc.) for 2 days after the procedure
- Within 2 days after the procedure, gradually increase your activities until you reach your normal activity level
Ask your doctor when it is safe to:
- Return to work
- Resume sexual activity
- Resume driving
Please review your medications with your doctor before you go home and ask if you should continue taking the medications you were taking before the procedure.
If you have diabetes, your doctor may adjust your diabetes medication(s) for one to two days after your procedure. Please be sure to ask for specific directions about taking your diabetes medication after the procedure.
Depending on the results of your procedure, your heart doctor may prescribe new medication. Please make sure you understand what medications you should be taking after the procedure and how often to take them.
Be sure to drink eight to ten glasses of clear fluids (water is preferred) to flush the contrast material from your system.
Importance of a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
It is important for you to be committed to living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Your healthcare team can help you achieve your goals, but it is up to you to take your medications as prescribed, make dietary changes, quit smoking, exercise regularly, keep your follow-up appointments, and be an active member of the treatment team.
Please call the office the day you are discharged to schedule a follow-up appointment within two to three weeks of your procedure with your cardiologist.