Recovery

After the PTCA procedure you will be returned to your room or ward, after which your heart will be carefully monitored. This will be done by frequent blood pressure tests, and you may also be attached to an ECG machine for constant monitoring of your heart function. If the insertion point was in the groin area you can expect to stay in bed for several hours.

The introducer sheath is normally removed after the procedure and when it is removed a nurse will apply pressure to the puncture site for 20 to 30 minutes, or until there is no bleeding. Bleeding is unlikely after this time, however if you do experience sharp pain or bleeding, call the nurse at once. Stay laying flat and press on the puncture site with your fingers. You will be asked to walk within 12 to 24 hours of the procedure.

The dye, which was used to visualise your arteries, ends up in your kidneys, and you will need to urinate frequently to get rid of the dye. You will also be asked to drink lots of fluids to help your kidneys get rid of the dye more easily.

Mild chest pain is common after the procedure, but this should gradually disappear within a couple of hours. If your chest pain increases, additional x-rays may have to be taken. After a successful PTCA and stenting procedure you should be sent home from hospital within one or two days. It is likely that the physician will advise you to avoid strenuous activity for at least a week.

For more information on heart health please see: www.heartfoundation.co.za