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Peripheral Vascular Angioplasty
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What do I need to know about peripheral vascular angioplasty?
Peripheral vascular angioplasty is a procedure to open blocked or narrowed arteries in your legs. The procedure can help reduce symptoms of poor blood flow, such as pain, numbness, and wounds that will not heal. The procedure may also prevent the need for an amputation of your leg or foot.
How do I prepare for peripheral vascular angioplasty?
- You may need blood tests, an angiogram, or an electrocardiogram (ECG) before your procedure. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you after your procedure.
- Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may need to stop taking blood thinners several days before your procedure. Ask your healthcare provider if you can continue taking aspirin.
- You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. Contrast liquid may be used during your procedure. Tell a healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to antibiotics or contrast liquid.
What will happen during peripheral vascular angioplasty?
- You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during your procedure. You may instead be given IV sedation to make you feel calm and relaxed during the procedure. You may also be given local anesthesia to numb the area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing, but you should not feel any pain.
- Your healthcare provider will insert a catheter and wire into a blood vessel in your arm, wrist, or groin. He or she will move a wire through the catheter and up into your blocked artery. Your healthcare provider may inject contrast liquid so he or she can see your artery more clearly on the x-ray. You may feel warm when the contrast liquid is injected. Your provider may use a balloon to help open your artery. He or she may measure oxygen and pressures in different parts of your arteries. A stent may be inserted through the catheter and into your artery. The stent helps hold the artery open so blood can flow through easier.
- Your healthcare provider will remove the catheter and wire. He or she may use clamps, stitches, or other devices to close the wound. Pressure will be applied to the wound for several minutes to stop any bleeding. A pressure bandage or other pressure device may be placed over the wound to help prevent more bleeding.
What will happen after peripheral vascular angioplasty?
- You will be attached to a heart monitor until you are fully awake. A heart monitor is an EKG that stays on continuously to record your heart's electrical activity. Healthcare providers will monitor your vital signs and pulses in your arm or leg. They will frequently check your pressure bandage for bleeding or swelling.
- You will need to lie flat with your leg or arm straight for 2 to 4 hours. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Arm or leg movements can cause serious bleeding. You may be able to go home or you may need to spend a night in the hospital.
What are the risks of peripheral vascular angioplasty?
You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may have bruising or pain where the catheter was. You may need surgery to repair damage from the catheter to your blood vessels or to stop heavy bleeding. You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. The blood clot may break off and travel to your lungs, heart, or brain. This may cause a heart attack or stroke. The contrast liquid may cause kidney damage or an allergic reaction.
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