What You Must Know About Angioplasty and Heart Stents

ANGIOPLASTY

Each year approximately one million Americans receive Angioplasty/Heart Stent procedures known medically as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI).
Angioplasty is a procedure to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins.
This procedure typically treats Arterial Atherosclerosis.

In Angioplasty, an empty collapsed balloon is inserted through an artery near your groin or wrist. The balloon catheter is passed over a wire into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size. This compresses the plaque against the artery wall, allowing the blood to flow more easily.

After this procedure, most patients are monitored overnight in the hospital. If no complications are detected the patients are sent home the next day. As with many medical procedures, there can be possible complications.
• Embolization or launching of debris into the bloodstream.
• Arterial rupture from over-inflation of a balloon catheter or the use of an inappropriately large or stiff balloon, or the presence of a calcified target vessel.
• Hematoma at the access site.
• Radiation injuries or burns from the x-rays used.

STENTS

A stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. Treating a blocked artery with a stent follows the same steps as other Angioplasty procedures with a few important differences. While a stent goes a long way in managing your heart disease by improving blood flow through your arteries, it doesn’t mean you’ve been cured. In fact, people with heart disease, including those with a stent, “are at a higher risk for future blockages than someone who has never has one”. Because of this, you’ll be prescribed medicine to prevent clots from forming and you’ll be encouraged to make lifestyle changes to lower your risk factors for heart disease and prevent or slow the buildup of additional artery clogging plaque. Medication carries the risk of side effects. If you experience any side effects please let your doctor know. Don’t stop taking a medication without discussing it with your doctor first.

You’ll need anti-platelet medication immediately after receiving your stent. Be diligent about taking the medicine. Anti-platelet drugs that are typically used after receiving your stent(s) include Clopidogrel(Plavix), Prasugrel (Effient) and Ticagrelor (Brilinta).

Your doctor will also have you take 81 mg of aspirin daily. Together they do a better job that either one alone. You’ll probably need to continue taking whatever heart medications you were on prior to the procedure, and you may be prescribed additional drugs that target three major risk factors for heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. As with all medications, you must consult with your doctor/cardiologist.

If blockages are too high a risk for a stent, you may be a candidate for bypass surgery. Bypass surgery may be a consideration for people with diabetes and multiple vessel coronary disease.

References for this report:
CDC
Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angioplasty)
Remedy Health Guide

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