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Peripheral Vascular Angioplasty
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Peripheral vascular angioplasty is surgery to open blocked arteries in your legs. The surgery can help reduce symptoms of poor blood flow, such as pain, numbness, and wounds that will not heal. The surgery may also prevent the need for an amputation of your leg or foot.
You may need the following:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Follow up with your surgeon or healthcare provider as directed:
You will need to return for more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Rest in bed for at least 24 hours after surgery or as directed:
Activity may increase your risk for bleeding. Ask when it is safe for you to stand up and move around.
Care for your incision as directed:
Wash your hands before you touch the incision. Check for redness, swelling, pain, bleeding, and bruising. Change your bandage as directed.
Self-care to help prevent more artery disease:
- Manage other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Take your medicines as directed. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Perform foot care and check your blood sugar levels as directed if you have diabetes.
- Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information if you need help quitting.
Contact your surgeon or healthcare provider if:
- Your incision is red, swollen, or draining pus.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You have bleeding, bruising, or swelling at your incision site.
- You have severe pain at your incision site.
- You hear a sudden pop or feel a pulsing sensation near your incision site.
- Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You cough up blood.
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You have numbness, weakness, or drooping on one side of your body, or a severe headache.
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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.