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Could I bleed from the puncture site of my angioplasty procedure?

When you have angioplasty to reopen a blocked artery, the entire procedure will be accomplished through a small puncture site in the skin on your leg or arm. The physician performing the procedure - an interventional cardiologist - will feed a thin tube called a catheter from this insertion point through the artery to the site of the blockage. Then a small balloon at the tip of the catheter will be inflated to push aside plaque, a fatty substance that builds up in arteries. Once the balloon has pushed the blockage aside, blood will be able to flow freely through your artery again.
 
One of the possible complications of angioplasty is bleeding from the puncture site where the catheter was inserted. This bleeding is often made more serious by the blood-thinning medications you have received during an interventional procedure. Bleeding is typically controllable just by holding pressure on the site, but in rare cases it can become severe and may require transfusions or surgery to repair the artery. Nurses trained in monitoring this wound will make sure it is closing properly.
 
Once you go home from the hospital it is normal to have a bruise or discolored area near where the catheter was inserted. There may also be a small lump (which should not get bigger), soreness when pressure is applied and perhaps a small amount (one or two drops) of discharge. If the puncture wound in your leg or arm gets bigger, turns red, drains a thick yellow/brown material or is painful, even when no pressure is applied, call your doctor right away. A larger, painful lump may be a sign that the puncture hole is not healing properly or is leaking blood. 
 

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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.