Coronary Angioplasty

What you should know

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure that opens arteries in your heart that have a buildup of plaque. Plaque is a mixture of fat and cholesterol. This procedure helps to increase blood flow to your heart.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

  • You may develop a hematoma (swelling caused by collection of blood) or bleed more than expected from your catheter site. The dye used during angioplasty may cause an allergic reaction or kidney problems. You may develop an infection. An artery in your heart may become completely closed or have a spasm. If this happens, your heart will not get enough blood. This may cause chest pain or a heart attack. You might need heart surgery right away to bypass (go around) the artery.

  • You may get a blood clot. The clot may cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. Your arteries may become blocked again, and you may need another angioplasty or heart surgery. If you do not have this procedure, plaque may continue to build up in your arteries and cause a heart attack.

Getting Ready

The week before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

  • Ask someone to drive you home when you leave the hospital. Do not drive yourself home.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • Contrast dye will be used during your procedure to help caregivers see your heart better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

  • You may need blood tests and a stress test before your procedure. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your procedure:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • You will be given medicine in your IV to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will also get local anesthesia that will numb the area where the catheter (long, thin tube) will be placed. You will be awake during the procedure so that your caregivers can give you instructions. You may be asked to cough or hold your breath during the procedure.

  • A catheter is put into an artery, usually in your groin. The catheter is gently guided through this artery to your heart and into the narrowed or blocked artery. Caregivers will use x-rays and dye to find this artery. You may feel warm as the dye is put into the catheter. A guidewire is then placed into this catheter. Caregivers may do any of the following to open your arteries:

    • A balloon catheter is guided into the artery using the guidewire. Caregivers inflate the balloon several times for short periods. The inflated balloon pushes the plaque against the artery walls. This opens them and allows more blood flow to your heart.

    • A stent may be placed into your artery. A stent is a tiny mesh tube or coil. Caregivers may use another balloon catheter to place a stent in your artery. The stent will be left in your artery to help keep it open.

    • A catheter with a laser at the end may be placed into your artery. Caregivers may use energy from a laser to break up the plaque in your artery instead of using a balloon catheter.

After your procedure:

The catheter and guidewire will be taken out of the artery and a pressure bandage will be put on the area. You may have a collagen plug, stitches, or staples to stop the bleeding. Caregivers will put pressure on the bandage with a device that helps stop bleeding. You will be taken to a room to rest. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room. You will need to lie still and flat for 3 to 6 hours after the procedure to prevent bleeding. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your procedure.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have a cold or the flu.

  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • The problems for which you are having procedure get worse.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Coronary Angioplasty (Precare)

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