Angioplasty and stenting require the coordinated efforts of a team of medical professionals who will not only perform the procedure and monitor your vital signs, but who will also prepare you before the procedure and look after your comfort and well-being after the procedure.
Read on to learn more about your care team before, during and after bypass surgery.
During the procedure, your interventional cardiologist is the physician who performs the angioplasty and stenting and the leader of the team dedicated to your care. He or she is a cardiologist who specializes in treating cardiovascular problems with thin, flexible tubes called catheters. Cardiologists complete four years of medical school, three years of training in internal medicine, and up to three or four additional years of education and experience focused specifically on treating the heart, arteries and veins.
An interventional cardiologist has one to two years of additional education and training in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease as well as congenital (present at birth) and structural heart conditions through catheter-based procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting. Additionally, a Board-certified interventional cardiologist will have a valid license, be in good ethical standing in the profession, have passed tests demonstrating knowledge and will demonstrate lifelong learning. Interventional cardiologists rank among the world's foremost authorities on cardiovascular disease and its treatment.
After you are released from the hospital after your procedure, your interventional cardiologist will inform your cardiologist of the outcome of your procedure. (Your interventional cardiologist may be your general cardiologist as well.) Your cardiologist will, in turn, communicate with your primary care physician. This way, all of the key players on your team are kept up to date on your progress.
Before, during and after your procedure, your interventional cardiologist will be assisted by other care team members, including the following:
Catheterization (Cath) Lab Nurses and Technicians
Cath lab nurses, including the manager of the cath lab, and technicians support the interventional cardiologist as he or she performs the procedure. They also monitor your condition and work to make you as comfortable as possible. Cath lab nurses are closely involved in your care from the time you arrive at the cath lab. During the procedure, cath lab nurses assist the interventional cardiologist and monitor your condition to identify changes that may need immediate attention. Cath lab technicians and nurses watch the cath lab monitors that display your heart rhythm and rate – and notify the physician if they observe changes.
After your procedure, nurses continue to provide watchful care in the recovery area. Of particular concern is stopping any bleeding from the puncture site through which the interventional cardiologist threaded the catheter into your arteries. Nurses ask often about how your puncture site feels. Plus, they are available to answer questions and teach you how to care for your puncture wound once you leave the hospital.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Team
If your doctor recommends cardiac rehabilitation, you will work with a team of healthcare professionals, including nurses, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians and nutritionists, counselors and others, who will provide education and coaching to support you as you learn and adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet, becoming physically active and managing stress.
Cardiologist and Primary Care Physician
Your cardiologist and primary care physician will continue to be an integral part of your care. Your cardiologist will be closely involved with your case while you are under the care of the interventional cardiologist. He or she, in turn, should also provide reports and updates to your primary care physician in order to ensure your continued coordinated care.