Recovering From Your Coronary Stent Procedure
You can find some general recovery tips for recovering from a stent procedure below. But be sure to follow your doctor’s post-operative instructions and recommendations for resuming normal activities based on your heart condition and specific situation.
Activities and Exercise
After your procedure, you can return to normal activities gradually. Be sure to talk to your doctor to help determine the activity level that is best for you.
Your cardiologist may prescribe medications to thin your blood and prevent blood clots from forming and adhering to the surface of the stent. You should not stop taking these medications unless you are asked to stop by the doctor who implanted your stent. If you stop taking these medications before being instructed to do so by your cardiologist, the chances of blood clot formation on the stent, subsequent heart attack or even death are increased.
If surgery or dental work is recommended which would require you to stop taking these medications prematurely, you and your doctor should carefully consider the risks and benefits of this additional surgery or dental work versus the possible risks from early discontinuation of these medications.
If you do require premature discontinuation of these medications because of significant bleeding, your cardiologist will carefully monitor you for possible complications. Once your condition has stabilized, your cardiologist will probably put you back on these medications.
For more information about medications specific to your stent, please check out the patient guide for your stent model.
Regular Follow-Up Visits
It’s important to go to all follow-up appointments with your healthcare team, even if you’re feeling well. The first visit is usually two to four weeks after your stent is implanted, with follow-up appointments every six months for the first year. During these visits, your doctor will monitor your progress, evaluate your medications, check the status of your coronary artery disease and determine how the stent is working for you.
Stent Implant Card
Whether you’re running a quick errand or going on vacation, it’s important to carry your Stent Implant Card with you at all times. If you receive dental or medical care or report to an emergency room, show your Stent Implant Card. You will be given an implant card at the time of your procedure. Your implant card contains your name, your doctor’s name and phone number, and information about your implanted stent(s).
When to Call Your Doctor
Your healthcare team will provide specific guidelines for when you should contact them. But be sure to call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:
- Chest pain (angina) or more severe or frequent chest discomfort, especially in the first month after your procedure, as these symptoms may indicate a re-narrowing of your coronary arteries
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg
- Pain, bleeding or infection at the entry site in your arm or leg
- Any other unexplained symptoms