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After Coronary Angioplasty and Intravascular Stent Placement

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.


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
    • You may also have any of the following:
      • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
  • 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 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, or your fingers or toes turn white or blue.
  • The area where the catheter was placed is swollen, red, or has pus or foul-smelling fluid coming from it.
  • You start to bleed from your catheter site again.

Contact your cardiologist if:

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


You may be given any of the following:

  • Antiplatelets prevent blood clots from forming. You will need to take aspirin and another type of antiplatelet medicine. Take this medicine daily as directed. Do not stop taking aspirin or other type of antiplatelet medicine without asking your healthcare provider.
  • Cholesterol medicine helps decrease the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol in your blood may cause plaque buildup.
  • Blood pressure medicine lowers your blood pressure.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider 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.

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.


  • Rest for 1 or 2 days after your procedure. If you had a heart attack, you may need to rest longer.
  • Increase activity slowly until you reach your normal level of activity.

Limits after groin insertion:

The following will reduce pressure on your catheter site and prevent bleeding:

  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds for 1 week.
  • Do not strain to have a bowel movement.
  • Avoid intense exercise for 2 to 4 weeks.
  • If you need to cough, support the catheter site area with your hand.
  • Ask your healthcare provider how long these limits should last.

Limits after wrist insertion:

The following will reduce pressure on your catheter site and prevent bleeding:

  • Do not use your wrist to lift more than 2 pounds.
  • Avoid activities that use your wrist, such as tennis, bowling, and golf.
  • Do not push or pull items.
  • If you need to cough, support the catheter site area with your hand.
  • Ask your healthcare provider how long these limits should last.

Wound care:

Most bandages can be removed the day after your procedure. Gently clean the catheter site with soap and water daily. Do not rub it. Do not soak in a tub, swimming pool, or hot tub until your healthcare provider says it is okay.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause heart 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.

Cardiac rehab:

Your cardiologist may recommend that you attend cardiac rehabilitation (rehab). This is a program run by specialists who will help you safely strengthen your heart and reduce the risk for 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 are taking are working.

Follow up with your cardiologist as directed:

You may need more tests. 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.

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