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How will I feel after an angioplasty and stenting procedure?

Isaac George, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Angioplasty and stenting procedures are generally relatively pain free, and most patients feel well enough to leave the hospital the same day or the next day after the procedure.
Stephen W. Mester, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Angioplasty is used for patients with CAD or a blocked heart artery. Watch as cardiologist Stephen Mester, MD, of Brandon Regional Hospital, explains how symptoms improve following this procedure. 
Before you leave the hospital after angioplasty, be sure to discuss what you can expect with your doctor, as your recovery will depend on the extent of your procedures and your physical condition. The list below can give you a sense of what is normal after angioplasty and stenting and what might require emergency attention.

After an interventional procedure, it is normal to:

• Have a bruise or discolored area near where the catheter was inserted. At the same site, 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.
• Feel more tired than usual for several days. If your intervention was performed while you were having a heart attack, feelings of tiredness will last longer - perhaps as long as six weeks, the time it takes for healing after an attack. If you had an elective procedure, it might take a few days to get your energy back.

When to call the doctor:

• If you feel chest pain like you felt before the procedure or during it when the balloon catheter was inflated in your artery. Some patients have chest pain lasting one to two seconds. Typically, they say it feels different from the pain they felt before the procedure. These brief pains are often muscular and are not related to the heart.
• 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. A larger, painful lump may be a sign that the puncture hole is not healing properly or is leaking blood.
• If you have fever.
• If you experience swelling - with or without pain - anywhere in the leg in which the catheter was inserted.

When to call 911 or go to the hospital:

• If you have chest pain that lasts 15 to 20 minutes, call 911 and tell the emergency operator that you may be having a heart attack.

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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.