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Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Your balloon angioplasty or stenting procedure will be performed in the hospital, in a specially-equipped room called a catheterization ("cath") lab. The procedure will be done by a physician who specializes in angioplasty and stenting. Your care team will also include nurses and cath lab technicians.
Your doctor will decide which site on your body would be the best place to access one of your arteries – typically your groin area, arm, or foot. The selected area will be cleaned, shaved and numbed with a local anesthetic.
Your doctor needs to know what other medications you are taking. In most cases, you should take any medications that you usually take, especially blood pressure medications. Check with your doctor about which ones to take and which ones not to take.
Also, be sure to tell your doctor if you:
Your doctor may instruct you take aspirin and other medications for several days before your procedure. These medications will help prevent blood clots from forming during the procedure.
You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for a period of time before your procedure. If your doctor wants you to take your regular medications, you may take them with a little water.
Angioplasty balloons and/or stents are inserted into an artery through a catheter. You will lie flat on your back on a table during the procedure. Devices will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure.
Your procedure will begin with an angiography test to determine the number and exact location of blockages.
After your doctor has determined which, if any, blockages need treatment, he or she will proceed with your treatment:
Immediately after your procedure, you will rest in a special care unit where nurses will monitor your heart rhythm and blood pressure. At this time, the sheath (a catheter 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 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.
Usually, patients only stay in the hospital for several hours and some may even go home the same day. The amount of time you stay in the hospital will depend on whether there were any difficulties during the procedure and how well the catheter insertion site is healing.
You'll need to make arrangements to have someone drive you home when you're ready to leave. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions about taking your medications.
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.
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.