What Are Some Ways to Recover After Angioplasty?

A patient recovering from angioplasty, a type of heart surgery, should take medications prescribed by his doctor, make suggested lifestyle changes, and avoid exercise and heavy lifting for as long as the doctor recommends, according to WebMD. It is typical for a patient to spent the first night after surgery in the hospital. Typically, a patient can resume normal activities within a week.

Doctors generally prescribe anti-platelet medication to prevent blockage forming in the arteries and causing future heart attacks or strokes. If the doctor inserted a stent, a small plastic tube, into the vein during surgery, the patient may also need to take aspirin along with the anti-platelet medication, states WebMD. Depending on the type of stent, a patient may need to take both medicines for a year or more. After that period, patients generally continue to take aspirin to prevent further cardiovascular problems. Cardiac rehabilitation programs can teach patients how to make lifestyle changes, such as changing eating habits and getting more exercise, to improve overall cardiovascular health.

Angioplasty is a procedure that widens a section of the coronary artery to improve blood flow to the heart. The doctor inserts a catheter into the patient through a vein in the wrist or groin and guides it through the body to the segment of the coronary artery that is blocked, explains WebMD. The procedure provides more immediate results than lifestyle changes and medical treatments, but research shows that angioplasty is not more effective in the long term than these treatment options, as of 2015.