Heart Stent Recovery Time

Angioplasty (Surgical repair or unblocking of a blood vessel, especially a coronary artery)involves creating a small incision in the arm or groin after numbing the area with local anesthetic. The doctor then guides a small hollow tube attached to a catheter along the artery towards the heart. They then use x-ray pictures to guide them and position the catheter in the area where the narrowing occurs. At this area, they inflate a balloon to open up the artery, improving blood flow. In the case of larger arteries, they may leave a stent, which is a metal tube that holds open the artery. After that, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed. This entire process can take as little as 20 minutes, but in other cases it may be more complicated and take longer. The heart stent recovery time can vary greatly as well.

How Long Does It Take to Recover After Heart Stent?

In most cases, patients recover from a heart stent and angioplasty quickly. They will usually be discharged from the hospital between 12 and 24 hours following the removal of the catheter. In fact, the majority of patients can go to work within a few days or a week.

It is normal to experience these symptoms after heart stent:

  • A discolored area or bruise near the area the catheter was inserted. A small lump may also be present, although it should not grow, and you may notice a small quantity of discharge or soreness when applying pressure to this area.
  • Feeling more tired than normal for a few days. These feelings of fatigue last longer for those who had the heart stent or angioplasty during a heart attack. In this case, it may take as long as heart attack recovery, which is six weeks. 

Watch this video to learn more about recovering from stent placement or heart surgery:

Medication After Stent Surgery

As part of the heart stent recovery time and process, the majority of patients take blood-thinning medicines for a year or less following their angioplasty. This medication typically combines clopidogrel and low-dose aspirin. You should always stick to the medication schedule provided by your doctor as stopping your medicines too soon will dramatically increase the chances of a sudden blockage, which can lead to a heart attack.

After around a year, the clopidogrel will be decreased until you are off the medication, but most patients continue to take low-dose aspirin for life. This is completely normal for those recovering from stents.

Tips and Precautions for Better Recovery After a Stent Procedure

As part of the recovery process, you will need to take certain precautions following a stent procedure. These mostly involve taking steps to monitor your condition in the long run and create a healthy lifestyle. Following the procedure, it is important to listen to your doctor’s advice concerning what you can or should not do.

Build a Healthy Lifestyle, Eat and Exercise Properly

Stents cannot completely cure atherosclerosis or the risk factors associated with it. You will need to make lifestyle changes that prevent the buildup of plaque in your arteries.

  • Consume less salt and fat

Aim to reduce your consumption of fat and if your blood pressure is high, try to eat less salt as well. Having too much salt will increase your blood pressure. At the same time, high cholesterol levels associated with eating fat increases the risk of your arteries narrowing again. Opt for oils and spreads made from mono-unsaturated fat, such as rapeseed or olive oil. This type of fat will work to fight “bad” cholesterol in your body.

  • Eat more vegetables and fruit

Whether or not you are still in the heart stent recovery time, you should have 5 portions of vegetables and fruit daily. A portion is about 3 to 4 ounces or 100 grams and you can eat the fruit raw, frozen, fresh, or cooked. To help you achieve this goal, try adding dried or fresh fruit to your cereal in the morning. Consider eating a thick vegetable soup for lunch and make sure you have two portions of veggies at your main meal. When you want a snack, pick fruit.

  • Stop smoking

The nicotine in cigarettes constricts your blood vessels, making your heart work harder. The carbon monoxide will reduce the oxygen in the blood while damaging the lining of blood vessels. Because of this, smoking is linked to heart disease and smoking following a heart stent can actually double the risk of serious heart issues in the future.

  • Exercise more

One of the best ways to start exercising is walking. You will be able to walk after a short heart stent recovery time of a few days as long as you feel comfortable doing so. You should, however, avoid heavy lifting and vigorous exercise for a short period of time following the procedure. Anytime you notice discomfort or pain in your chest, you should stop exercising right away.

Monitor Your Health Condition

  • Watch your weight

Reduce your caloric intake and exercise more to maintain a healthy weight.

  • Control your blood pressure

Regularly check your blood pressure levels as part of the heart stent recovery time. If your doctor tells you, take prescription medicines to control it.

  • Control your cholesterol

Also, check your cholesterol regularly. To help keep it in control, limit your consumption of foods with a high cholesterol content. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to lower your cholesterol.

  • Keep diabetes under control

If you are diabetic, you will need to control your blood sugar levels carefully. This will slow down the rate at which coronary artery disease progresses.

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