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Coronary Intravascular Stent Placement
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Coronary intravascular stent placement is a procedure to place a stent in an artery of your heart that has plaque buildup. Plaque is a mixture of fat and cholesterol. A stent is a small mesh tube made of metal that helps keep your artery open. Your healthcare provider may place a bare metal stent or a drug-eluting stent (DES) in your artery. A DES is coated with medicine that is slowly released and helps prevent more plaque buildup in the area where the stent is placed. The stent remains in your artery for life. You may need more than one stent.
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
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 turns 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.
- 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. 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 him or her 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.
- Avoid unnecessary stair climbing for 48 hours, if a catheter was put in your groin.
- Do not place pressure on your arm, hand, or wrist, if the catheter was placed in your wrist. Avoid pushing, pulling, or heavy lifting with that arm.
- If you need to cough, support the area where the catheter was inserted with your hand.
- Ask your cardiologist how long you need to limit movement and avoid certain activities.
- You may feel like resting more after your procedure. Slowly start to do more each day. Rest when you feel it is needed.
Ask your cardiologist about how to care for your incision wound. Ask when you can get into a tub, shower, or pool.
Do not smoke:
Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause heart and lung 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.
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:
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.