One of the relatively easy methods of coronary artery disease treatment, angioplasty has gained wide prominence around the world. If you have any queries about angioplasty recovery time, here’s an article that seeks to answer them all.
Although angioplasty recovery time varies from case to case, on an average, the patients are discharged from the hospital in a day or two.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every minute someone dies of heart disease-related incident in the United States. A significant number of these deaths are attributed to coronary artery disease (CAD) or coronary heart disease (CHD), wherein the arteries in the heart become narrow or get blocked due to the accumulation of atheromatous plaque. The condition reflects on the human body in the form of symptoms like chest pain and heart muscle damage resulting from inadequate supply of blood. The plaque buildup continues with time and the condition further worsens, eventually resulting in a fatal heart attack.
In angioplasty, the blood flow is restored by clearing the arteries of this harmful plaque. A thin tube, known as the balloon catheter, is passed through a blood vessel to the site wherein the artery is affected. Once the tube is properly placed at the required site, the balloon attached to the tube is inflated. This pushes the plaque towards the artery walls, thus widening the passage and restoring the normal blood flow.
Angioplasty Recovery Period Explained
In the hospital
In most of the cases, the in-hospital recovery time for angioplasty will be one or two days, i.e., the person is discharged either on the same day or at the max, the next day. During this period in the hospital, the patient will be kept in the recovery room where his condition will be closely monitored by health care professionals. In order to prevent bleeding, a bandage will be wrapped at the site of catheter insertion and the patient will be asked to keep his arms and legs in a straight position.
Additionally, the doctors might also prescribe intravenous (IV) drugs in order to rule out the possibility of blood clotting. Usually, the patient is back on his feet in 12 to 24 hours. If the doctor is convinced that the recovery has been smooth so far, then the patient will be discharged from the hospital. At the time of discharge though, the patient will be given a specific set instructions that he will have to follow at home to ensure speedy recovery.
If the person has undergone a simple angioplasty, which is recommended when there is a possible threat of heart attack, the recovery period will roughly span a week after which he will be able to get back to his daily routine. On the other hand, if the person has undergone the procedure following a heart attack, the recovery period will be extended by a few more days. Whilst on the course of recovery, the patient will have to visit the doctor at regular intervals for follow-ups.
Post procedure, the patient will notice a bruise at the catheter insertion site. The area around it will also feel sore for the next couple of days. The patient will have to ensure that the said area is well-protected and also keep an eye for infection. Signs of infection, if any, will have to be promptly brought to the doctor’s notice before things get complicated. Due to the high risk of clot formation, flying is best avoided for two weeks after angioplasty, while smoking and other such activities are best put off forever.
The doctor may also recommend the cardiac rehabilitation program specifically designed to help heart patients understand their condition and recover from it. Furthermore, it will also help the patients make necessary changes in their daily lifestyle so as to reduce the risk of heart problems. There is no dearth of studies which show that the rehabilitation program helps in reducing the mortality rate. In one such study published in the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, it was revealed that the chances of survival improve by 47 percent when the person undergoes the rehabilitation program.
If angioplasty has become one of the most sought-after methods of coronary artery disease treatment, it is largely because of the advantages it has on coronary artery bypass surgery. Even the short recovery time that angioplasty boasts of, can be attributed to the fact that it is not as invasive as bypass surgery. Having said that, there do exist some risks associated with this procedure, like a tear or damage to the inner wall of the artery, or restenosis, which cannot be ignored. In the end, the doctor will be in a better position to tell whether angioplasty is the right option after subjecting the patient to physical examination and going through his medical history.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.