Angioplasty is a safe, effective procedure designed to open up coronary arteries that are blocked due to CAD (coronary artery disease). It is a great option for people suffering from the disease who do not want to undergo open heart surgery. At Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA and Monterey, CA, Dr. Raymond M Shaheen, MD is passionate about helping people improve their vascular health.
Coronary artery disease is the most common heart disease in the U.S. It often develops over the course of several decades, and you may not notice any symptoms at first. However, if you experience angina, you must talk to your doctor right away. You may suffer from CAD. Keep reading to learn more about treating coronary artery disease, including how long you can enjoy your results.
How Long Does Angioplasty Last?
Angioplasty, sometimes referred to as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), provides results that should last a lifetime. During this procedure, or immediately following the procedure, a coronary artery stent is inserted to prevent the artery from closing.
How Long Will My Procedure Take?
This procedure usually takes between half an hour and two hours to complete. Before the procedure begins, you will be asked to remove any objects, like jewelry, that may interfere with the surgery. Hearing aids and dentures may remain. You will also be asked to remove your clothes and step into a surgical gown. You will need to empty your bladder before surgery, and we may shave off the hair in the catheter insertion region depending on how much hair there is.
The preparation for surgery does not stop there. We will start an intravenous line so you can receive medication and IV fluids if necessary. You will be reclined on your back and hooked up to an ECG monitor that allows us to monitor your vitals during surgery. You will be sedated, but you will probably not sleep through the procedure. Local anesthesia will be administered to ensure you don’t feel any pain or other discomfort during surgery.
What Happens After I’m Prepared for Surgery?
Once the incision area is numb, a sheath will be inserted into your blood vessel. Usually, it is introduced into the groin, but it also may be introduced into the arm. A sheath is a plastic tube that allows a catheter to thread into the blood vessel, making its way into the heart through the aorta. To see without open heart surgery, fluoroscopy will be employed. Contrast dye will be injected into your coronary arteries, flowing through the catheter.
This ensures that we know exactly where the narrowed areas are. Once the contrast dye is injected, several X-ray images of your coronary arteries and heart will be taken. While the images are being captured, you may need to hold a deep breath for a few seconds. Once we know exactly where the narrowed artery is, the catheter will be pushed into the area, and the artery will be opened with an inflating balloon. Then, a stent is put in place.
What Happens After Surgery?
Once the stent has been put into place, the catheter will be removed. Then, the sheath will be removed, and the insertion site will be sutured closed. After that, the area will be bandaged very tightly. If your groin was used for insertion, you must not bend your leg for a few hours. If your arm was used for insertion, you will need to keep your elbow joint immobilized, and you will need to keep it elevated with pillows.
You will need to remain prone for two to six hours after surgery. During this time, your vital signs will be monitored. Once your bed rest is complete, you can go home. Once you’re home, you should prioritize hydrating, eating nourishing foods, and keeping your incision site clean and dry. You will not be able to soak in a bathtub, hot tub, or pool until your skin has healed.
How Long Will I Need to Take Off From Work?
If you are planning to undergo angioplasty, you should only need to take a week off from work. In the event of an emergency PCI, recovery can take several weeks or months. During the first 24 hours post-op, you mustn’t exert yourself. Have a friend or family member spend the first 24 hours with you. You must hydrate and nourish yourself. You are more likely to accomplish this if you don’t have to get up to get your own food and water.
How Will I Need to Care for My Insertion Region?
If your groin was used as the insertion point, do your best not to walk up and down stairs for at least two days post-op. If your arm was used as the insertion point, keep your elbow joint immobilized for a couple of days. You can walk around the ground floor of your home the day after your procedure. Just remember not to exert yourself. You will need to keep the insertion point bandaged for a day or two. You will also need to avoid showering for 24 to 48 hours.
When you shower, the water should be cool or lukewarm. If it is cold or hot, your skin may feel a bit irritated. Try not to let water stream onto the insertion area directly, and pat it dry very gently after your shower. Also, reduce the water pressure from your shower head if you can. Your insertion region should be watched periodically to ensure there is no excessive bleeding.
What Should I Eat After Surgery?
After PCI, you should eat a nutritious diet full of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Ideally, many of these fruits and vegetables should be high in water, and you should include a lot of additional water in your post-op diet. You should aim to drink six to eight cups of water daily, depending on your body mass. The only way to tell that you are hydrated is to ensure your urine is fairly pale.
It is a good idea to prepare several meals before your procedure. If you don’t, or you don’t feel like anything, drink a nutritious protein shake or yogurt smoothie. It’s also okay to nibble on a healthy meal if you don’t have an appetite.
Can I Smoke After Surgery?
No, you cannot smoke after surgery. It is essential for your recovery that you do not smoke during the first two weeks post-op. After that, you should never smoke again. In some cases, excessive nicotine consumption leads to new blockages developing in the artery treated by the stent.
Can I Take My Usual Medications After Surgery?
You may not be able to take all of your usual medications after surgery. We will advise you on this, and when you should take new medications, during your initial consultation. These instructions will be reviewed again before you are discharged after your procedure. Taking antiplatelet medications is an important part of the recovery process because it helps to keep the coronary artery open.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
While PCI is often a great alternative to open heart surgery, it is not effective for the treatment of all coronary artery disease. Moreover, it is not safe for everyone. During your initial consultation, advise Dr. Shaheen on if you have an implanted device, like a pacemaker. Also, you should advise him on any bleeding disorders you have and the pharmaceuticals you take that affect blood viscosity or clotting. You should similarly disclose the nutritional supplements you take.
Furthermore, allergies or sensitivities to iodine, anesthesia, or contrast dye may affect your candidacy. If you think you could be pregnant or know that you are pregnant, let us know during your initial evaluation. Radiation exposure should be avoided during pregnancy for the sake of the developing fetus. Another contraindication for this procedure is a body piercing in the chest or abdomen. One or more blood tests may be required to verify your candidacy.
Schedule an Initial Evaluation Today
Angioplasty results are considered permanent. If you believe you suffer from coronary artery disease, you should not ignore your symptoms. Contact us now at Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA and Monterey, CA to schedule an initial evaluation and find out how you can improve your symptoms safely and effectively.