What Can I Expect After I Get Stents?

What Can I Expect After I Get Stents?

Stents are relatively tiny medical devices that specialists use to help maintain adequate blood flow through arteries clogged by atherosclerosis. But can a small mesh-like tube that’s about ⅛-inch in diameter really save your life? Yes.

The physicians and support staff at Premier Cardiology Consultants are well-known for using the most advanced technology available to provide comprehensive and personalized cardiovascular care to patients of all ages in and around New York City.

Read what our team has to say about stents and what to expect after your procedure.

Why would I need a stent?

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive and essentially painless procedure that specialists use to restore normal blood flow through arteries clogged by fatty deposits (plaque). Unfortunately, weakening of the arterial wall at the site of a plaque can cause the vessel to narrow again.

Thus, your specialist may recommend placing a stent within the targeted artery during angioplasty. Made from tiny coils of biocompatible metal, the stent remains in place to help keep the artery open by strengthening the vessel wall at the treatment site.

Stents may be placed in the coronary arteries as well as the peripheral arteries that carry blood to the legs, brain, arms, and other organs. They’re also used to strengthen arterial walls at the site of an aneurysm (weakening) in the abdominal aorta.

Short-term recovery after coronary angioplasty and stent

Every case is unique, but angioplasty with stent placement generally takes from 30 to 60 minutes and requires only short-term hospitalization. A strong sedative, typically administered via an IV, helps you relax during the procedure.

During angioplasty, with or without stent placement, your doctor inserts a needle into an artery and threads a thin catheter (hollow tube) to the site of the blockage. Instruments required to clear the plaque as well as place the stent are passed through the catheter.

Depending on where your blockage is, your Premier specialist may recommend entry through the groin or the wrist to access the blocked artery. Groin access generally requires that you lie flat and very still for several hours afterward to allow the access point time to close.

Wrist access significantly reduces the risk of post-procedure bleeding. You can expect to wear a pressure bandage around your wrist for a few hours after the procedure and must rest, but you can sit up in bed during this time.

With either approach, most patients are released from the hospital within 24 hours of the procedure and return to normal activities within a couple of days. We generally recommend, however, that you limit strenuous activity for two weeks.

What can I expect once I return to normal activities?

Many of the symptoms associated with blocked coronary arteries, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain, resolve once adequate blood flow resumes. For many individuals, successful angioplasty with stent placement can eliminate the need for coronary artery bypass surgery and the long-term recovery required with that procedure.    

It’s important to remember, however, that coronary angioplasty and stenting does not “cure” the condition that caused the blockage. Neither does it prevent future problems in other locations.

Thus, for the best results, follow the guidelines your specialist recommends to help prevent worsening heart disease, which may include:

You may also find it helpful to undergo cardiac rehabilitation or other medically supervised programs that help strengthen and protect your heart health.  

For more information about angioplasty and stenting or any of the other top-level treatments we offer, schedule a visit at Premier Cardiology Consultants today.

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