Balloon Angioplasty also known as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or precutaneous coronary intervention – is a very effective surgical procedure performed directly after a heart attack to restore the flow of blood in the heart by removing the blockages from the coronary arteries. Balloon angioplasty is a very effective surgical treatment and has proven success rates. The procedure involves the insertion of a catheter mounted with a tiny balloon into the blocked artery through an incision in the arm or groin. This catheter is then guided to the exact spot of blockage by using special dyes, X-rays, etc. and once it’s in the right position – the tiny balloon is inflated to remove the blockage from the artery and clear the passage to allow blood flow by pushing the plaque build-up to the walls of the artery. Once the blood supply is regulated, the balloon is deflated and removed from the body. This procedure is often time followed by the placement of a stent – a stainless steel mesh – in the heart of the patient to ensure the arteries do not clog again in the future. In fact, some stents (such as drug-eluting stents) are medically coated to keep the arteries from narrowing again.
A balloon angioplasty surgery is a widely used technique of treatment in cases of heart attacks and can minimize the chances of a heart failure or other complications, provided this treatment is initiated within the first hours or in some cases immediately after a heart attack. While the condition of the heart and survival is dependent on the success of the balloon angioplasty surgery procedure, it is also very critical to understand the tips to follow post the balloon angioplasty procedure, to ensure there are no complications or a revival of the situation.
It takes about 3-4 weeks or more (depending on the severity of the condition) to recover after a balloon angioplasty surgery. Once exiting the hospital, it is necessary to discuss precautions, medications, routine activity exemptions, diet, recovery process, post-operative tests, etc. to ensure maintain good heart health. However, some of the tips that one must consider after a balloon angioplasty surgery are:
Healthy Diet: An unhealthy diet consisting of food high in saturated fats, trans fat, sodium, cholesterol, sugar, etc. should be avoided. Instead, a healthy diet including green leafy vegetables, fiber, whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy, etc. should be adopted. Water intake should be increased, while consumption of oil, sugar and especially sodium should be minimized to barely any.
Medications: Post the balloon angioplasty surgery, the doctor will recommend certain medications to ensure steady heart health. It is vital to take all medications and follow all the precautions suggested by the doctor. Some of the medications that may be recommended include blood thinners (to restore blood flow), thrombolytics (to dissolve clots), nitroglycerin (to widen blood vessels), antiplatelet (to prevent new clots), and pain killers (to cub the pain). During the intake of these medicines, the body might experience a few negligible changes such as sensitivity to bruise easily, longer bleeding from clots, etc.
Improve Life State: After the balloon angioplasty surgery procedure, it is very important to take steps to prevent all chances of another heart attack.One must lower blood pressure levels, reduce high cholesterol, lower sugar levels, reduce weight, increase physical activity, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake, and reduce stress.
Regular check-ups: It is very critical to be aware of the heart’s health after a balloon angioplasty surgery by getting regular check-ups and examinations done. Heart-health screenings are necessary to keep a check on the level of blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index and more. If the results indicate any variation from the normal range, one must consult the doctor and also practice stricter lifestyle changes to bring the values within normalcy.
Ease into the normal life: One thing to remember after a balloon angioplasty surgery is that there should be no rush to swing back to the normal life with the same intensity. Instead, slow methods should be undertaken to eventually resume everyday activities and physical load. Driving and travelling are two activities that can be immediately resumed after a balloon angioplasty surgery. However, weight lifting and strenuous physical workout should be given some due time.
Exercise Daily: A balloon angioplasty surgery guidelines advises to refrain from intense physical workouts or stress whereas slow, distributed exercises are suggested to be adopted. These low-to-moderate exercises need to be done till the level of comfort only. No excessive pressure of performance needs to be out on the patient. These light exercises help to regain fitness, control blood pressure, maintain cholesterol levels, maintain healthy sugar levels, etc. Once the comfort is achieved, the length and intensity can be increases bit-by-bit.
If these tips post a balloon angioplasty surgery are not followed sincerely, there may be many risks and complications that might arise. Some of these include:
- Bleeding, clotting or painful bruising at the insertion point
- Blood clots or scar tissue in stent
- Irregular heartbeat
- Damage to heart vessel or heart valve
- Tear in the artery (artery dissection)
- Hole in the artery (artery perforation)
- Damage to kidney
- Post-surgery infection or complications
- Medication side-effects
- Heart attack
However, all risks involved vary as per personal circumstances. Most of these are easily manageable with proper care. A Balloon Angioplasty can be 100 percent successful if it is followed by a disciplined and dedicated post-surgery care and lifestyle amendments.