Easing into your Routine:
Peripheral angioplasty may help you get back to the activities you enjoy soon. Walking may be easier than it has been for some time. Ask your doctor any questions you have about recovery.
What is peripheral angioplasty?
Peripheral angioplasty is a procedure that helps open blockages in peripheral arteries. These vessels carry blood to your lower body and legs. Angioplasty may allow for a better flow in your body. This can help prevent severe leg pain and cramping.
What are the symptoms of blockage?
The symptoms of a blocked or narrowed artery in your lower body includes the following:
Leg pain while walking
Unusually tired or cramped leg muscles after physical activity
A sore or cut on the feet, ankles, or toes that will not heal
What causes a blockage?
A blockage forms when a fatty deposit called plaque builds up on artery walls. The risk factors below can increase your chances of having a blockage:
- Being overweight
- Not exercising
- High cholesterol
- A family history of vascular (blood vessel) problem
How should I prepare for my angioplasty?
- Tell your doctor what medicines you take, especially those for heart or blood sugar problems.
- Tell your doctor about any allergies you may have.
- Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before your angioplasty.
- If your doctor says to take your normal medicines, swallow them with small sips of water only.
- Arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home.
What are risks and complications of angioplasty?
Angioplasty is safe. But it does have some risks and possible complications. This include:
- Allergic reaction or kidney problems from the contrast “dye”.
- Artery tears.
- Plaque breaks apart and blocks other areas of an artery.
- Bleeding or bruising at the insertion site.
- Artery remains blocked.
You may get medicine through an IV (intravenous line) to relax you. You will also have an injection to numb the insertion site. A tiny skin incision is made in your groin. This is the insertion site. Your doctor inserts a catheter (thin tube) into the site and slides it through an artery while viewing a video monitor. A contrast “dye” is injected into the catheter (thin tube) into the site and slides it through an artery while viewing a monitor. A tiny balloon is pushed through the catheter to the blockage. The doctor inflates and deflates the balloon a few times to compress the plaque. You may feel pressure. The balloon and catheter are then removed. Pressure is applied to the insertion site by hand or with a special belt.
What is a Stent and why is it needed?
A stent is a small metal or meshes tube. It is sometimes used to help keep your artery open. If you need a stent, your doctor will place it in your artery during angioplasty. He or she fits the stent over a balloon. The balloon and stent then slide through the catheter to the area where the blockage is. Your doctor inflates the balloon. This presses the stent against the artery wall. The balloon is removed while the stent stays in place.
What will happen after the Angioplasty?
You will be taken to a recovery area. A doctor or nurse will keep applying pressure for about 15 minutes. You will need to keep your leg still and straight for several hours.
You will either go home later that day or spend the night in the facility.
You will have a small bandage over the insertion site. You can remove it in 1 or 2 days.
On the day you get home:
- Do not drive.
- Do not exercise.
- Avoid walking and taking stairs.
- Avoid bending and lifting.
- Your doctor may give you other care instructions.
- You can resume your normal activities in a day or two after consulting your doctor.
Immediately call the Physician if:
- You notice a lump or bleeding at the insertion site.
- You feel pain at the insertion site.
- You become lightheaded or dizzy.
- You have leg pain or numbness.