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Coronary Intravascular Stent Placement
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Coronary intravascular stent placement is a procedure that is done to place a stent into a blood vessel in your heart. Coronary arteries are blood vessels in the heart that carry blood and oxygen. These arteries can become narrow, or get blocked by plaque. Plaque is fat and tissue that builds up on the inner walls of an artery. When this happens, blood and oxygen cannot flow to areas of the heart as well. Decreased blood flow to the heart can cause severe (very bad) chest pain, or a heart attack. An angioplasty is a procedure that is done to open blocked coronary arteries. Coronary intravascular stent placement is done at the same time as an angioplasty.
- During coronary intravascular stent placement, a stent is placed into the artery that has been opened by angioplasty. A stent is a small mesh tube that is made out of metal. You may need to have a stent placed in one or more of your coronary arteries. A drug-eluting stent (DES) is a stent that is coated with medicine. This type of stent may help prevent new plaque from forming in the area of the artery where the stent is placed. The DES stent changes shape to fit the shape of your artery, and releases medicine slowly over time. Coronary intravascular stents are not removed, and often remain in your blood vessel for life. A coronary intravascular stent may allow more blood and oxygen to reach all areas of your heart. When enough blood and oxygen get to your heart, your chest pain may decrease or go away.
Take your medicine as directed:
Call your primary 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.
- Anti-cholesterol medicine: This medicine is used to decrease and prevent cholesterol (fat) buildup in the blood.
- Blood pressure medicine: This is given to lower your blood pressure. A controlled blood pressure helps protect your organs, such as your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Take your blood pressure medicine exactly as directed.
- Anti-platelet medicine: Anti-platelet medicines are needed after the procedure to thin your blood. This type of medicine helps prevent blood clots from forming and blocking your arteries. Aspirin and clopidogrel are the names of these medicines. When using anti-platelet medicines, you will bruise and bleed more easily than normal. While taking this medicine, use a soft toothbrush to prevent bleeding gums. If you shave, use an electric shaver. You may need to take medicine to thin your blood for the rest of your life. Do not stop taking this medicine even if you need dental work or other procedures. Tell all of your caregivers that you take medicine to thin your blood. Ask caregivers for more information about this medicine.
- Nitroglycerin: This medicine may also be called nitro. Nitroglycerin opens the arteries to your heart so the heart gets more oxygen. Nitroglycerin can be given in an IV, by mouth, or put on your body as a patch or paste.
- Vaccines: Ask your caregiver if you should get vaccinated to help prevent the flu, or if you need other vaccines.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
- You may need to have blood taken for tests during follow-up visits.
Ask caregivers how to take care of the wound in your arm or groin area where the catheter went in during your procedure. Watch the area for changes such as tenderness, bleeding, or swelling for a few days after the procedure. If you have any of these changes, see your caregiver right away.
Check your blood pressure:
Having high blood pressure (BP) increases your risk of having blocked coronary arteries. Your caregiver may tell you to regularly check your BP. Ask your caregiver to teach you or a family member how to check your blood pressure. If your BP is 120/80 mmHg or higher, your caregiver may suggest lifestyle changes such as weight loss, more exercise, and diet changes. If your BP is equal to, or higher than 140/90 mmHg, you may need to take medicine to decrease it.
Check your blood sugar:
If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar level often. Keep your blood sugar in the range suggested by your caregiver. Do this by managing your diet, getting exercise, and taking your medicine as ordered. Ask caregivers if you should make changes to your diet, exercise, or medicines.
Make diet changes and lose weight if you need to:
- Having high cholesterol (fat in your blood) increases the risk of blocked coronary arteries. If you have high cholesterol, talk to your caregiver about what you can do to decrease it. You may need to follow a diet that is low in fat, and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and certain other foods. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Doing this will give you energy, and may help wounds heal faster. Diet changes can also help you lose weight, and decrease your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Eat more fresh fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, such as milk and yogurt. Decrease the amount of sodium (salt) that you eat. Ask your caregiver for more information about the best meal plan for you.
- Weighing too much makes your heart work harder, and can increase your blood pressure. Talk to your caregiver about a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
Get regular exercise:
Exercise may help you lose weight and get stronger. Do 30 to 60 minutes of activity each day, or at least 3 to 4 times a week. These activities may include walking, jogging, cycling, or dancing. Increase your usual activities such as taking short walks, gardening, or housekeeping. Ask your caregiver about the best exercise plan for you.
Smoking increases the risk of getting another blocked coronary artery. Smoking also harms the heart, lungs, and the blood and can decrease how well your medicines work. If you smoke, you should quit. You will help yourself and those around you by not smoking. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting. Stay away from others who smoke. Breathing in secondhand smoke also increases your risk of having blocked coronary arteries.
Get a patient information card:
Carry a patient information card with you all of the time. This card contains information about you and the stent that you have. Show this card to caregivers before having a test such as an MRI, or a procedure.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- An artery in your groin was used for the stent placement, and your foot on the same side feels painful or cool.
- Your wound is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, procedure, care, or medicine.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your wound is bleeding.
- An artery in your groin was used for the stent placement, and the area feels tender or you feel a lump over the area where the catheter was inserted.
- An artery in your groin was used for the stent placement, and your foot on the same side is tingling, weak, or turning blue.
- You have chest pain or discomfort that spreads to your arm, jaw, or back.
- You are sweating and feel sick to your stomach.
- You have one or more of the following:
- Weakness on one side of your body or face.
- Trouble speaking clearly.
- Vision changes, such as double vision, or being unable to see out of one or both eyes.
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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.