• Taking Care of Your Stent


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    You & Your Stent” is provided compliments of Daiichi Sankyo/Eli Lilly in Partnership with SCAI. Copyright © 2013 Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and Lilly USA, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    When you are released from the hospital, you should receive a list of instructions from your doctor or another member of your healthcare team about taking care of yourself while you recover. Don’t leave without it! Better yet, go over it before you leave and ask about anything you don’t understand.

    In addition to the specific instructions from your doctor, here a few general suggestions for taking care of yourself and your new stent:

    • Keep the insertion area dry for 24 to 48 hours.
    • Watch for infection where the catheter was inserted. Watch out for the area becoming warm or red and for any drainage.
    • Watch for and any bleeding where the catheter was inserted and any change in color or pain or a warm feeling in that area.
    • If you have bleeding where your catheter was inserted, lie flat and apply pressure to the area, ask for help and call your doctor.
    • If you have chest pain that is severe or frequent, call 911. You could be having a heart attack.
    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Don’t lift heavy objects.
    • Avoid strenuous exercise.
    • Avoid sexual activity for a week.
    • Wait at least a week before swimming or bathing.
    • Don’t smoke for at least 24 hours (In fact, why not quit? It will be easier after not smoking for 24 hours. Click here for help.)
    • Take it easy. Most people need at least a week before they completely resume their usual activities. If your work is physically demanding or strenuous you may need more time.
    • Don’t be hero. Let other people help you until you feeling better.
    • Talk to someone if you feel depressed. It’s very common to feel sad after a medical procedure. Seek out support from a friend or support group. If you’re not sure where to turn, ask your doctor or another member of your care team for suggestions.

    Click here for more information about what to expect after angioplasty and stenting, including when to call the doctor and when to call 911.

    A Stent Is Not a Cure

    A stent does not cure heart disease. It may save your life by allowing blood to flow where it needs to go, but it is not a cure. Heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis or the build-up of the fatty substance called plaque within your arteries. Atherosclerosis is a process that happens throughout our lives. But you can take care of your stent and reduce your risk of needing more stents in the future by developing the following heart-healthy habits:

    And, don’t forget to keep follow-up appointments with your doctor.

    Carry Your Stent Card

    When you have a stent, it’s very important to let your other doctors, including your dentist, know about it. A stent card is a very handy way to do that. It’s a card that you carry in your wallet that tells the location of the stent in your body, the date of your procedure when you received the stent and your doctor’s name and contact information.


    Medication After Angioplasty and Stenting: It Can Save Your Life

    When you have a stent, blood clots (thrombosis) can form around the stent and block blood flow or break free and cause a blockage elsewhere, resulting in a heart attack or even death. To prevent this from happening, your doctor will prescribe antiplatelet therapy. Current guidelines developed by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI -- the host of this website) in conjunction with other key cardiology associations recommend that patients who receive a bare metal stent take aspirin and an antiplatelet medicine such as Plavix (clopidogrel), Effient (prasugrel) or Brilinta (ticagrelor) for at least a month after the procedure. Patients who receive drug-eluting (coated) stents are recommended to take aspirin and one of these antiplatelet medications for at least a year after stent implantation.

    Taking aspirin and a second antiplatelet medication, such as Plavix, Effient or Brilinta, is called dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT). If you are a patient who is about to undergo a medical procedure with a physician other than the cardiologist who prescribed DAPT for you, be sure to talk with both doctors. Guidelines about DAPT and procedures can change, so it is important to stay up to date. For example, new recommendations say that stent patients do not have to discontinue DAPT for gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures.

    Learn more about antiplatelet therapy and tips to help you take your medicines as directed by downloading "What You Need to Know: Antiplatelet Therapy." SCAI gratefully acknowledges the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association for providing this downloadable content on antiplatelet therapy.