Post Angioplasty Care
What are the post angioplasty complications?
Many patients are wondering what are the possible complications and risks post angioplasty. This article is designed to give the answer.
Post angioplasty hemorrhage or hematoma
There is a danger of puncturing the vessel with the guide wire during an angioplasty, although the risk is very small. Patients must be monitored for hematoma or hemorrhage at the puncture site.
Post angioplasty occlusion
There is also a small risk of heart attack, stroke, and, although unlikely, death—all related to vessel spasm (transient vessel narrowing from irritation by the catheter), or from emboli (as plaque can be dislodged by the catheter or and travel to the heart or brain). Abrupt closure of the coronary artery occurs in about 4% of patients.
Post Angioplasty restenosis
Recurrence of stenosis, known as restenosis, is an additional potential complication. The risk of recurrence is highest in the first six months after angioplasty, with rates as high as 35% reported in some studies.
The duration of hospital stay post angioplasty
The length of the patient’s hospital stay following an angioplasty depends on his or her overall health, the occurrence of complications, and the availability of home care.
Role of health care team in preventing post angiography complications
Physicians often have specially trained assistants for vascular procedures. These assistants may be nurses, surgical technicians, or X-ray specialists. Cardiac catheterization laboratories will include someone specially trained in monitoring EKG equipment and vital signs. Either a nurse, nurse anesthetist, or anesthesiologist will administer sedation or anesthesia for the procedure.
Alternatives of Angioplasty
For some patients, thrombolytic therapy (treatment with drugs that dissolve blood clots) coupled with lifestyle changes is an alternative to angioplasty. Many medical centers, in fact, restrict the use of angioplasty to patients who cannot be treated with thrombolytic therapy.