If your loved one has heart disease, his doctor may have recommended he come in for a procedure called an angioplasty. An angioplasty is a procedure that is performed on someone who has a coronary artery that is blocked or very close to being blocked. The goal of it is to restore blood flow to the heart muscle without your loved one needing to have a complicated open-heart surgery.
During the procedure, a catheter, which is a very long thin tube, is placed inside a blood vessel and then guided through the body to the place of the blockage of the coronary artery. A tiny balloon is placed at the tip of the catheter and once it reaches its destination, it is inflated, pressing the blockage of plaque or a blood clot against the side of the artery, allowing blood to flow through the area again. The procedure may also involve your loved one having a small mesh stent placed in the artery to keep it open.
While a fairly easy procedure, once your loved one comes home to heal, having a post-hospital care provider stay with him for a few days to help him as his body begins to heal is an invaluable service. A post-hospital care provider can help your loved one with tasks he is restricted from doing for a few days to a few weeks, as well as help him with medication reminders and mobility assistance.
Here are some things to keep in mind as your loved one recovers:
1. Depending on where the catheter was inserted (usually the wrist, arm, or groin area), your loved one may experience some soreness in that area. There might also be some bruising.
2. If the catheter was inserted through the groin:
- Your loved one should avoid using stairs more than once or twice a day. Flat surface walking is fine, but excessive stairs can cause pain and inflammation.
- Your loved one should avoid lifting any heavy objects or doing any type of hard physical work like yard work or playing sports.
- The catheter area should be kept clean and dry for 24-48 hours.
3. If the catheter was inserted in the wrist or arm:
- Your loved one should avoid lifting anything more than 10 pounds with the arm that had the procedure. Anything heavier should be lifted by someone else like his post hospital care provider.
- Your loved one should avoid twisting or pulling with that arm.
4. For all insertion areas, your loved one will need to avoid taking a bath or swimming for a week. A shower will be fine after the first 48 hours.
5. The dressing will need to be changed as the doctor requests.
With proper care and patience, your loved one will be feeling well again soon.