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After Coronary Angioplasty And Intravascular Stent Placement


After coronary angioplasty and intravascular stent placement,

you will need to move carefully for 48 hours. Your healthcare provider will give you specific activity instructions to follow while you heal. You will also need to care for your procedure wound to prevent infection and help it heal.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns
    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
    • Trouble breathing
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing
  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss
  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your leg or arm becomes numb, feels cold, or turns white or blue.
  • Your wound is bleeding and does not stop after you hold pressure on it for 10 minutes.
  • Your wound is swollen, red, or has pus or foul-smelling fluid coming from it.

Contact your cardiologist if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Examples of blood thinners include heparin and warfarin. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
    • Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
    • Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
    • Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
    • Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
    • Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin.
      • Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
      • You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
  • Antiplatelets , such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. Take your antiplatelet medicine exactly as directed. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.
  • Nitrates , such as nitroglycerin, relax the arteries of your heart so it gets more oxygen. This medicine helps to relieve chest pain.
  • Cholesterol medicine helps decrease the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol can cause plaque buildup that blocks your arteries.
  • Blood pressure medicine lowers your blood pressure.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • You may feel like resting more after your procedure. Slowly start to do more each day. Rest when you feel it is needed. Ask when you can return to your daily activities.
  • Keep the arm or leg used for the procedure straight as much as possible. Try not to bend at the site of the incision for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Do not place pressure on your arm, hand, or wrist, if the catheter was placed in your wrist.
  • Do not lift anything heavy for at least 48 hours after your procedure.
  • Do not climb stairs for the first 48 hours unless it is necessary.

Wound care:

  • You may have pain, swelling, or bruising at the wound area. This is normal and should go away in a few days. Ice can help relieve pain, swelling, and bruising. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack or plastic bag with a towel. Apply it to the area for 20 minutes every hour, or as directed.
  • If the wound bleeds, lie down with your arm or leg straight, and apply pressure on the wound for 10 minutes.
  • Do not get your wound wet until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Carefully wash around the wound with soap and water.
  • Check the wound for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.
  • Dry around the wound and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.
  • If you need to cough, apply gentle pressure to the wound area with your hand.

Drink liquids as directed:

Drink extra liquids if contrast liquid was used during your procedure. Liquid will help flush the contrast out of your body. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause heart, lung, and blood vessel damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Go to cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) as directed:

Cardiac rehab is a program run by specialists who help you safely strengthen your heart and prevent more heart disease. The plan includes exercise, relaxation, stress management, and heart-healthy nutrition. Healthcare providers will also check to make sure any medicines you take are working. The plan may also include instructions for when you can drive, return to work, and do other normal daily activities.

Follow up with your cardiologist as directed:

If you need an MRI, wait at least 6 to 8 weeks after stent placement, or as directed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.