Angioplasty surgery: What it involves, recovery, and lifestyle changes (full sample)

Angioplasty surgery: What it involves, recovery, and lifestyle changes (full sample)

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Angioplasty is surgery carried out to reduce or remove fatty deposits on the inner walls of veins or arteries. Left untreated, these deposits can cause blockages, resulting in a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening condition. Fortunately, angioplasty is a relatively straightforward procedure. In this article we look what it involves, recovery from the surgery, and longer-term lifestyle changes to reduce a patient's risk factors.




Angioplasty is a surgical procedure that is carried out to clear blockages or the possibility of blockages from veins or arteries. Blockages can occur because fatty deposits including cholesterol or other plaques can build up on the inside walls of a blood vessel. If left untreated, this can result in a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening medical condition. Because of this, angioplasty is often required very urgently.

How angioplasty surgery is performed

Surgery is carried out as follows:

  1. An incision is made in a patient's body.

  2. A very thin tube with a deflated balloon on the end is inserted into the affected vein or artery.

  3. The surgeon locates the area where there is a thickening of the artery walls, normally via a camera.

  4. The balloon is inserted into this area, between the walls of the blood vessel.

  5. Water is forced into the balloon, inflating it.

  6. The pressure of the balloon on the fatty deposits compresses them against the sides of the blood vessel, making it easier for blood to flow.

  7. The balloon is deflated and removed.

  8. Optionally, a stent may be inserted into the vein or artery; this can be used if there is a risk of future collapse or blockage of the affected site.

  9. The incision is sutured.

Recovering from angioplasty surgery

  • Following the operation, the patient will be moved to a specialist medical care unit where they can be observed. They will probably need to stay there a few hours or overnight and will need to lay still to give the blood vessel time to heal properly.

  • After another few hours, the patient will be allowed to move around slowly and assuming that there are no further complications will be discharged from the hospital.

  • A patient will receive a list of instructions from their doctor on what they need to do when they get home. This will include information on appropriate exercises, medication, looking for signs of infection, and when to follow-up with a doctor.

  • Recovery times vary from person to person. Most patients will make a fairly rapid recovery and will be able to return to light work within about a week of leaving the hospital.

  • Most patients will make a full recovery within about two to four weeks of the operation.

Longer-term lifestyle changes

Patients should also make longer-term lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of future plaque building up in their veins or arteries:

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet.

  • Avoid foods that are high in fat or overly processed.

  • Regularly monitor cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels down.

  • Not smoking.

These lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and will promote a longer and healthier life.

In closing

Although angioplasty is often an emergency medical treatment, patients should make a full and rapid recovery following the procedure. Combining recovery from the surgery with changes to lifestyle will help ensure that patients can continue to enjoy their lives.

Content originally written by Paul Maplesden, a freelance writer, and edited by me.



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