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Heart Disease Treatment With Angioplasty and Stents

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What Can I Expect Before an Angioplasty?

Before an angioplasty, most people will need to have a routine blood test and electrocardiogram. These tests may require separate appointments and are usually scheduled the day before the procedure.

You will not be able to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure.

If you normally wear dentures or a hearing assistive device, plan to wear them during your angioplasty to help with communication. If you wear glasses, bring them also.

Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are taking Coumadin (warfarin), diuretics (water pills), or insulin. Also let them know if you are allergic to anything, especially iodine, shellfish, X-ray dye, latex or rubber products (such as rubber gloves or balloons), or penicillin-type medications.

You will need to take aspirin before the procedure. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you did not take aspirin.

You will remain awake during an angioplasty, but you are given medication to help you relax.

What Happens After an Angioplasty?

If your angioplasty was performed by inserting the catheter in the artery at your groin, you will have to lay flat (without bending your legs) while the groin sheath is in place. A sheet may be placed across your leg with the sheath to remind you to keep it straight.

After the groin sheath is removed, you must lay flat for about six hours to prevent bleeding, but your nurse can raise your head (about two pillows high) after two hours. Your nurse will tell you when you can get out of bed with assistance six hours after the groin sheath is removed (or sooner if a collagen "plug" was placed in your artery).

You should not eat or drink anything except clear liquids until the groin sheath is removed because nausea can occur during this time. Once you are allowed to eat, you will be advised to follow a heart-healthy diet. You may be admitted to the hospital overnight for observation after the procedure.

Notify your doctor or nurse immediately if you develop a fever or experience chest pain, swelling, or pain in your groin or leg. If you experience bleeding from your groin site after you return home, call 9-1-1 and lie down immediately. Remove the dressing and push down on your pulse in the affected area.

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