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After the Procedure – Stents

Stenting is a minimally invasive procedure. Some people are able to leave the hospital soon after the stenting procedure. Most people are able to return to work and their normal routines after about a week. People who do very physical work will need to wait longer. Check with your doctor before doing any strenuous physical activity.

Expect to Spend Some Time in the Hospital

Immediately after your stent procedure, you will rest in a special care unit where nurses will monitor your heart rhythm and blood pressure. At this time, the catheter sheath introducer tube may be removed and pressure will be applied to the puncture site until the bleeding has stopped.

The catheter insertion site may be bruised and sore. If the sheath was inserted into your arm or wrist, it will be removed and the site will be bandaged. If the catheter was inserted into your groin, you may need to lie in bed with your leg straight for several hours. In some cases, your doctor may use a device that seals the small hole in the artery; this may allow you to move around more quickly. The place on your body where the catheter was inserted will be monitored for any changes in color, temperature or sensation.

At first, you may feel groggy from the sedative. Your doctor will let you know when you can get out of bed and walk around. You will typically be able to walk within 2 to 6 hours following the procedure.

Recovery

Usually, patients stay overnight and return home the day after the procedure. Some may even go home the same day. The amount of time that you stay in the hospital will depend on if there were any difficulties during the procedure and how well the catheter insertion site is healing.

When you are discharged, you will be given a small identification card to keep in your wallet. This card will contain important information about your stent, its location in your body, the date of your procedure, and your doctor’s name and contact information. You should show this card to any doctor or dentist who treats you. 

After you return home, you should rest and continue to drink plenty of fluids. You should not lift heavy objects, exercise strenuously or smoke for at least 24 hours.

Signs to Watch For

If the place where the catheter was inserted starts to bleed, you should lie down, apply pressure to the site, and call your doctor. Any change in color, pain or warm feeling in the area where the catheter was inserted should also be reported to your doctor. Call your doctor immediately if you feel chest pain or notice severe or frequent discomfort in your chest. These symptoms may indicate that your arteries are renarrowing.

Returning to Normal Activities

Most people are able to return to work and their normal routines after about a week. People who do very physical work will need to wait longer. Check with your doctor before doing any strenuous physical activity. As with all medical procedures, insertion of a stent involves risks.

It can be difficult for someone who has undergone angioplasty or stenting to get back to their lives right away. Having family and friends around to help can make recovery easier. A helping hand, a sympathetic ear, or even just a little company can go a long way toward cheering someone up and getting them back in the swing of things.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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