Living with Coronary Stents
Boston Scientific encourages you to discuss any concerns about your angioplasty procedure or coronary stent device with your healthcare provider. This will help you develop a good understanding of your heart condition. Things you should discuss include medication, rest, returning to work, and exercise.
"I've been pretty lucky by not having to experience anything like a heart attack. I feel better knowing that something's been done to help.”
"I consider my heart disease a gift because I now have a mission to work passionately for women's heart health. My BSC stent keeps me alive and healthy. Every time I give a talk, facilitate a support group, or travel to Washington, I imagine that you are all with me because you made it possible. We are making a difference together. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Managing Your Heart Disease
While a coronary stent can reduce feelings of chest pain and improve your quality of life, it cannot stop further advancement of coronary artery disease. Any treatment plan has to include other ways you can make a positive impact on your disease.
You have a large role to play in the success of your treatment. Maintaining good results means taking care of yourself, such as:
- Not smoking
- Having healthy cholesterol levels
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting enough exercise
- Treating other conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure
You and your doctor should determine the best treatment option for you.
Understanding Anti-clotting Therapy
Recovery after an angioplasty procedure is typically quick and the pain of angina is normally eliminated immediately after receiving a stent.
One of the most important steps to the success of the stent procedure is taking your anti-clotting medication, such as aspirin and Plavix®, after angioplasty.
Anti-clotting therapy can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke or even death by reducing the chance of the formation of blood clots. Following a coronary stenting procedure, your body immediately begins the healing process. Your body's healing reaction to the placement of the stent is similar to the body's reaction to a cut on your finger. Platelets in your bloodstream aggregate at the affected site and have the potential to form blood clots.
Your cardiologist may prescribe aspirin and a second anti-clotting drug such as PLAVIX® (clopidogrel) or TICLID® (ticlopidine)*. Aspirin is usually taken long term, and the second anti-clotting medicine (PLAVIX or TICLID) is normally prescribed for a specific length of time by your cardiologist depending on individual needs.
Before leaving the hospital, make sure you understand the dosage and durations of all medications that your cardiologist instructs you to take.
Medication Memory Tips
- Take your medications at the same time every day.
- Get a pillbox marked with the days of the week. Refill the pillbox at the beginning of each week.
- Keep a medicine calendar and mark it with a check each day after you take your medications.
- Mark your calendar for the date you need to have your prescription refilled. Allow enough time that you don't completely run out.
- Keep your medications somewhere that you will see them daily, like a nightstand, vanity or kitchen counter.
When you take all of your medications as prescribed by your doctor, you increase your chances for a healthy recovery. But doing so does not eliminate the risks of complications following angioplasty.
Other helpful information can be found in these sections:
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Angioplasty Procedure
- Stentplus Patient Success Program
- News for Heart Attack Survivors