Don’t stop or change the dosage of these medications without consulting your doctor.
Abnormal heart rate
Abnormal rhythms of the heart are common during the coronary angioplasty surgery. It gradually gets restored to normal within a short span of time. However, in severe cases, medications or a temporary pacemaker may become necessary.
In very rare cases, a heart attack may occur during a coronary angioplasty surgery in case an artery tears or ruptures. Under such emergencies, bypass surgery may become necessary.
Stent placement and usage of dye during angioplasty surgery may raise the risk of damage to the kidney, especially amongst those with kidney problems.
In case you already have been diagnosed with a medical condition of the kidneys, your surgeon will perhaps restrict the use of contrast dye. He/she will ensure that you are sufficiently hydrated during the coronary angioplasty surgery.
How to Prepare for Angioplasty
Keep in mind the following to prepare for angioplasty:
- Your doctor will evaluate your personal and family medical history, and also conduct a physical examination.
- You will probably be recommended certain medical examinations like electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, and blood tests before you undertake the surgery.
- You may also be advised to take an imaging test known as coronary angiogram to observe and analyse the extent of blockage in your arteries. This will enable the doctor to determine whether the plaques need to be removed immediately, or can be removed with angioplasty, or need a more serious surgery like bypass. In case, during angiogram, the doctor decides that the blockages need to be removed, he/she may perform angioplasty and stenting immediately after the angiogram while the heart is catheterized.
- Your doctor may advise you to stop taking certain medications before angioplasty. These include aspirin, blood thinner, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Remember to tell your doctor about all the medications you may be taking – prescription drugs, OTC drugs, vitamins, supplements, and herbals.
- Refrain from drinking six to eight hours before an angiography. Also ensure that you take medications as advised by your doctor before the surgery.
What Happens During Angioplasty?
The following is the surgical procedure for angioplasty:
- The patient will be medicated to relax him/her before angioplasty. The area where the catheter will be inserted is numbed with anaesthesia.
- A narrow plastic tube, known as a sheath, is inserted into an artery through the arm or groin, as per the discretion of the cardiac surgeon. Next, a long and thin tube is then connected to the arteries around the heart through the sheath and up a blood vessel.
- A small quantity of contrast liquid is released into the blood vessel through the catheter. An X-ray photographs the entire process as the contrast liquid travels through the chambers of the heart, valves, and major blood vessels. This enables the surgeon to get accurate information about the number and extent of heart blockages, and whether the valves of the heart are working effectively.
- In case the surgeon decides to perform angioplasty, he/she will direct the catheter into the artery where there is blockage. Next, he/she will undertake the angioplasty surgery through any of the following procedures, as he/she thinks necessary:
- Balloon – A catheter, with a tiny balloon at one end, is passed through a blocked artery in which angioplasty will be performed. The balloon is then inflated to displace the plaque and push the artery open to improve blood circulation to the heart.
- Stent – A small tube is inserted as support to the inner surface of the coronary artery. A balloon catheter, fixed over a guide wire, helps the stent into your blocked coronary artery. After it has been accurately inserted, the balloon is inflated to make the stent expand to the size of the artery and hold it open. The balloon is removed after it is deflated while the stent stays in the artery permanently. The artery gradually heals around the stent in the next few weeks. Stents are usually made of metal or of a material that gets absorbed by the body over time.
What is the Recovery period for Angioplasty?
Angioplasty is not a complicated surgery, and therefore, the recovery period is also brief. An individual, who has undergone angioplasty or stenting, is usually discharged from the hospital within 12 to 24 hours after the removal of the catheter. They can resume their normal life within a few days to a couple of weeks.