Most often, these procedures are done when an artery is narrowed by
atherosclerosis, and there is no improvement with exercise or medication treatment. Also if the artery is too narrow, blood is no longer able to pass through. The body part then suffers from lack of oxygen, also called ischemia. This can cause different symptoms, depending on the part of the body that is not getting enough oxygen.
You will be thoroughly evaluated before deciding on the best procedure. This may involve contrast x-rays, ultrasound, or computerized scans to identify the area of concern. You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours before the procedure.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure.
You will most likely be sedated, but not put to sleep. A local anesthetic will numb the site of insertion of the device.
You will be lying down. The room will have x-ray machines and a variety of surgical equipment. Depending on the artery to be opened, a blood vessel in your groin or arm will be prepared and covered with sterile drapes. Your doctor will puncture your numbed skin. A tube called a catheter will be placed into your blood vessel and passed to the site of the obstruction. Contrast material may be injected through the catheter to visualize the obstruction on the x-rays. There may be more than one location that requires opening. The device used will depend on the type of obstruction and location in the vessel. Possible approaches include:
You will need to lie flat for a period of time if the groin was used as an entry site.
You may need to have pressure applied to the entry site to control bleeding.
If you notice any swelling, bleeding, black and blue marks, or pain where the catheter was inserted, tell the nurse.
You will be encouraged to drink a lot of fluids to flush the contrast material from your system.
There will be a bandage over the puncture site. You may be prescribed a blood thinner, such as aspirin. Certain strenuous activities will be limited. Other activities, including exercises and fluid intake, may be encouraged. Your doctor will want to see you several days or weeks later.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
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Angioplasty and vascular stenting. Society of Interventional Radiology website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated August 31, 2012. Accessed May 3, 2013.
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