You may or may not be a good candidate for angioplasty and stenting. If you have blockages in your arteries, your doctor will assess the severity of your cardiovascular disease, your risk factors and your ability to take medication and tolerate the side effects to determine where you fit best among a range of treatment options.
If you are at the beginning stages of cardiovascular disease, changing lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise, might be enough to get you on track for good health. For other patients, medication in addition to lifestyle changes may be the best approach for slowing or reversing the progress of cardiovascular disease.
But if you are taken to the emergency room for a heart attack, research findings and medical guidelines clearly recommend treatment with angioplasty and stenting. In fact, if you are having a heart attack, angioplasty and stenting can save your heart muscle and your life.
If you are considering angioplasty and stenting to ease chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of heart disease that have been stable and going on for weeks or months or to resolve symptoms of blockages in arteries elsewhere in your body, you may want to take some time to learn about the procedure and options for treating those specific conditions before making a decision.
Do Your Homework
If you have decisions to make about your treatment, a good place to start is to learn as much as you can about angioplasty and stenting. Many articles on the subject are available in this treatment center. Next, discuss this and other treatment options with your healthcare providers. With their medical training, experience and knowledge of practice guidelines, they will consider your unique medical history, risk factors, current symptoms, lifestyle expectations and the results of tests, to arrive at a recommended treatment plan that works best for you.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
When you talk to your doctor, a few basic questions can serve as a great starting point for a conversation about whether angioplasty and stenting is right for you. Consider using these questions at your next appointment to guide your discussion with the doctor. Take notes to help you recall important points to consider and discuss with your family when you go home.
- What are the benefits of the procedure for me?
- What are the risks of angioplasty and stenting for me?
- What are my alternatives?
- Could I be treated with medicines instead of angioplasty and stenting?
- Will angioplasty and stenting save my life?
- Will a stent cause blood clots?
- What type of stent do you recommend for me? Bare metal? Drug-eluting?
- How long will I need to stay in the hospital?
- How will I feel after the procedure?
- How long after the procedure before I can get back to my regular routine?
- What limitations will I have after the procedure, both short and long term?
- What follow-up will be necessary after the procedure? What do I need to do?
Questions to Think About and Discuss with Your Family
After you have done your homework and talked things over with your doctor, thinking about the following general questions may also help you make your decision:
- What does your family think you should do?
- How does your family feel about the risks involved?
- How do you feel about the risks involved?
- Would you have to continue medication? Have you thought about the side effects?
- Have you had any trouble with medication in the past?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What are the risks and benefits of not having angioplasty and stenting?
- What alternatives do you have?
- What are the risks and benefits of the other treatment options?
- What is your doctor’s advice based on his or her evaluation?
Although the decision is ultimately yours, you will make the best decision by gathering as much information as you can and talking with others who can help. Click here to review the risks and benefits associated with Angioplasty and Stenting.