Advice for patients following angioplasty / stent procedures

Information for patients from Vascular Surgery

What is angioplasty?

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive x-ray procedure, which uses wires and balloons inserted via a needle to treat arteries which have become narrowed or blocked. This may include leaving a stent behind to support a treated artery. Stents are small, strong, expandable tubes made of metal mesh, designed to help keep a diseased artery open.

What complications can occur?

The potential benefits and risks of angioplasty / stent are covered in the information leaflet about these procedures. They will have been explained to you by your interventional radiologist before your treatment, but the complications include the following.

What happens after my procedure?

Depending on the procedure you have had, afterwards you will be asked to lie flat for some time; you will be told about this at the time. Do ask for pain relief if you are sore.

How long will I need to stay in hospital?

Once up and about, you may be able to go home when any anaesthetic has worn off and you are not staying for further treatment.

Will I need a follow-up appointment?

Your radiologist will discuss the results of your treatment with you before you go home. A letter (discharge summary) will be sent to your GP, with details of your treatment and any future care plans. Whether you need to be seen again depends on whether more treatment is planned, commonly not.

When can I drive again?

Please do not drive for 24 hours after your procedure, and avoid strenuous activities for three days.

What if I feel unwell at home?

If a swelling appears in your groin or your leg symptoms worsen, contact us using the numbers at the end of this leaflet.

How can I help my recovery?

This treatment will usually improve the blood flow through your treated area, but will not cure the underlying arterial disease. Arteries often become narrow again, so it is important to follow the advice that you will have already been given, about how you can help yourself to avoid more problems with hardening and blockage of your arteries. This advice is given again below.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact one of the following.

During the working day, first try the vascular nurse practitioners. If they are not available or you call out of hours, ask the hospital switchboard to contact the on-call vascular registrar.