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When can I return to everyday activities after angioplasty and stenting?

Angioplasty is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is threaded through a puncture site in the skin and to the site of a blockage in an artery. A balloon on the tip of the catheter is opened and closed to push the blockages aside and restore blood flow through the vessel. A stent - a metal, mesh tube - may be placed during the procedure to permanently prop the blood vessel open.

If you had angioplasty/stenting to remove blockages, but did not have a heart attack (myocardial infarction), when you can resume sexual activity depends in part on whether you experienced chest pain before having the procedure. If you had chest pain (angina) with sexual activity before the stent, discuss when to restart sexual activity with your heart doctor (cardiologist).

If you did not have chest pain during sex prior to the stent, it is usually recommended that you wait at least 5 days after the stent procedure before resuming sexual activity (or other strenuous activity), and only if there is no discomfort in the groin area at the catheter insertion site.

These are typical recommendations, but it is always best to ask your doctor when it is okay for you to resume sexual activity

Recovery from angioplasty and stenting is typically brief and many patients are able to return to work within a few days to a week after a procedure. 

Always follow your doctor's instructions about the activity level appropriate for you. A general guide is:

  • For the first five days, do only light activities. Walking, climbing stairs and taking care of routine activities are fine. After five days, you may resume moderate activities, but you should avoid over-exertion that leads to shortness of breath, tiredness or chest pain.
  • If your doctor performed the procedure from a puncture in the groin (upper leg) area, do not sit in a bath tub, go swimming, apply powders or lotions to the area, or go to a sandy beach area for about one week after the procedure.
  • Wait three to four weeks before lifting heavy objects or doing strenuous exercise. Get clearance from your doctor before very strenuous activity or manual labor.

If you underwent angioplasty to stop a heart attack, your doctor may ask you to take a stress (treadmill) test three to six weeks after your procedure. The results of the test will help guide your doctor in recommending an appropriate level of activity for you. The results may lead to a recommendation that you enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program, which includes an exercise program supervised by health professionals. Supervised cardiac rehabilitation programs are designed to help you build a stronger heart and reduce risk factors for more blocked arteries in the future.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.