Menu
header photo

 THE FIT HEART 

The Way To A Healthy Heart

Frequently Asked Questions After Angioplasty

 

  1. When shall I be discharged from the hospital?

          There is no fixed answer to this question!! It depends on many factors like:

  • Circumstances under which angioplasty was done. If it was done as an emergency procedure while you suffered heart attack you may have to stay longer. But if it was done as an elective procedure while you were stable, then you are likely to be discharged by 48 hours.
  • Occurrence of any complications. If the angioplasty was uneventful, you are likely to be discharged by 48 hours. But if there was any complication during the angioplasty like fall in blood pressure, damage to the heart’s blood vessel, bleeding from the skin puncture site, stroke, heart rhythm abnormalities, infection etc., then you may have to stay longer depending upon the severity of the complication.
  • Your overall clinical status. You may have to stay longer if you are too sick.

So the decision has to be individualized by the doctor and there are no fixed rules. You may speak with your doctor for a definitive answer.

 

  1. What are the things I should care about when I go home?
  • Take all the medicines properly and religiously as prescribed by your heart specialist even if you have no complaints at all. DO NOT STOP ANY MEDICINES WITHOUT ASKING YOUR HEART SPECIALIST.
  • Check for bleeding. Keep an eye at the puncture site (wrist or groin) and also the surrounding areas. You should not have any bleeding or swelling at the puncture site after you leave the hospital. But if you have it, stop the bleeding by applying pressure at that site, call your doctor and return to the hospital as soon as possible.
  • Report infection or rash. Infection is extremely rare after angioplasty, but if you see redness, warmth or pus discharge around the puncture site or if you develop any rash, report to your doctor immediately.
  • Avoid strenuous activity. Initially you need to avoid heavy activity for around a week. Then gradually pick up to reach the permissible amount of workload as advised by your doctor. Ask your doctor when you can resume normal activity, including going back to work and lifting heavy objects.

 

  1. When should I follow up with my heart specialist?

Different doctors have different follow up protocols, so ask your doctor when to come for visit after angioplasty. But meeting your heart specialist 7 days after the after angioplasty for the first post-angioplasty visit is a reasonable choice. Further follow up can be planned during this visit.

 

  1. I have no complaints. I am doing all my work including daily exercise and also playing badminton daily. Do I really need to continue all these medicines?

It’s really great that you are back on track after angioplasty but still NEVER EVER STOP THE HEART MEDICINES WITHOUT ASKING YOUR HEART SPECIALIST. These medicines reduce the risk of future heart attacks and most importantly they prevent blockages in the deployed stents (which can sometimes be acutely life threatening).

 

  1. How long I need to take these medicines?

After angioplasty some medicines like the blood thinners and fat lowering medicines have to be taken lifelong. But with time the dose of these medicines change depending on various factors. Also there are other heart medicines which are added or deleted or their dose modified as needed during follow up. In short, you will always be on some heart medicines. So consider them as lifelong treatment.

 

  1. But I thought that with angioplasty my doctor has completely normalized my heart and so medicines are no more needed!!

This is a very common misconception. By doing angioplasty the doctors treats only the significant blockages in your heart’s blood vessels. Angioplasty is not done for insignificant blockages (which can become significant in future as this is an ongoing process).  Also, if the heart’s pumping power has gone down due to the heart damage caused by these blockages, then the extent of recovery of this power is unpredictable (and most the case there is no significant recovery). Angioplasty has the following roles:

  • It tides over the acute crisis caused by heart attack.
  • It reduces the risk of further episodes of heart attacks (But not 100% protection).

Even the stent itself can get blocked in future. Thus the heart is not completely normalized after angioplasty and you will have to take lifelong medicines irrespective of howsoever normal you may feel.

 

  1. What diet I should have?

It depends on multiple factors like whether you are diabetic or obese or do you have deranged blood fat levels etc. So have a dietician consultation before you leave the hospital. But, in general, a simple Indian diet (roti, sabji, dal, chawal) low in fatty and oily constituents (especially solid fats) would do. Also avoid extra salt (or salty foods), canned foods, pickles. Have more fresh fruits and vegetables in diet. In non-veg, fish will be the best option, that too in curry and not fried. The individual diet chart needs to be customized as per the profile of the patient. Those with poor pumping power (i.e. ejection fraction) of heart should specifically avoid consuming excess of water/fluid and salt.

 

  1. How to go about exercise and the amount of exertion I can do?

Again it depends on many factors like whether your clinical condition was stable or unstable during angioplasty, did you have any complication, how much is your heart’s pumping power. In general if your condition is stable then you need not be on complete bed rest after angioplasty. You can start with walking around in the house after your discharge for the first few days and then start walking outside. During this you should daily increase the duration and distance of walking gradually. If, on any day, you feel any chest discomfort, breathlessness, palpitation or giddiness, you should stop and take rest for that day and then resume next day. Thus you need to gradually build up your stamina. If you repeatedly get the above-mentioned complaints and are not able to progress your exercise level, report to your heart specialist.

  1. What about sexual activity?

Sexual activity is like an exercise. So the same above-mentioned rules apply. Whenever you have no complaints climbing up the stairs and you can also jog without any problem, it probably is the time when you can be intimate. But discuss this first with your doctor as every patient has different severity of heart problem and hence different tolerance for exertion involved in sexual activity.

Also, do not take Viagra or similar medicines without consulting your doctor because these are known to have dangerous interactions with some of the heart medicines.

 

  1. What are my risks of getting another heart attack?

Once you have a heart attack, there is always a chance of another episode because formation of fatty blockages (atherosclerosis) is an ongoing process, so another area of your heart’s blood vessel may develop significant blockage. Also, the stent itself can get blocked in future. Hence taking regular medicines and regular follow up with your heart specialist is very important although you may not have any complaints. If you do this properly the risk of heart attack significantly goes down, but it never becomes zero. So always BE ALERT and report to your doctor immediately if you have any suspicious complaints.

 

(If you still have any other doubt please post in the CONTACT AND YOUR QUERIES section or mail directly to drcbmunjewar@thefitheart.in. I will be happy to help you).