Description of Procedure
The area of the groin or arm where the catheter will be inserted is shaved, cleaned, and numbed. A needle will be inserted into the artery. A wire will be passed through the needle and into the artery. You will receive blood-thinning medicine during the procedure. The wire will be guided through until it reaches the blocked artery in the heart. A soft, flexible catheter will be slipped over the wire and threaded up to the blockage.
The doctor will be taking x-rays during the procedure to know where the wire and catheter are positioned. Dye will be injected into the arteries of your heart. This will allow the doctor to view the arteries and blockages.
After the blockage is reached, a small balloon at the tip of the catheter will be rapidly inflated and deflated. This will stretch the artery open.
The collapsed stent will be inserted. The balloon will be inflated again to expand the stent to its full size. The stent will be left in place to hold the vessel walls open. The deflated balloon, catheter, and wire will be removed. After the procedure is complete and the blood thinning medicine has worn off, the catheter in the artery will be removed. Pressure will be applied for 20-30 minutes to control bleeding.
A bandage will then be placed over the groin area.
Will It Hurt?
The local anesthetic should numb the area where the catheter is inserted. You may feel a burning sensation when the area is anesthetized. You may also feel pressure when the catheters are moved. Some people have a flushed feeling or nausea when the dye is injected. You may feel some chest pain during inflation of the balloon.
Do not stop taking aspirin and clopidogrel (or prasugrel) without first talking to your cardiologist.
You may be sent home on blood-thinning therapy. This may include one or more of the following:
- Ice may help decrease discomfort at the insertion site. You may apply ice for 15-20 minutes each hour, for the first few days.
- You can make lifestyle changes to lower your risk for further complications of heart disease. These include eating a healthier diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress.
You may need to undergo periodic
to monitor for blockages.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s
Always inform new doctors or other healthcare professionals that you have a coronary stent in place. Some medical procedures need to be modified or avoided for people with coronary stents, particularly