You had angioplasty (ballooning) of a peripheral artery, a blood vessel that supplies blood to your legs or arms. You may have also had a stent placed. These procedures were done to open a narrowed or blocked peripheral artery.
Your surgeon inserted a catheter (flexible tube) into your blocked artery through a tiny hole in your groin. Your surgeon used x-rays to guide the catheter up to the area of the blockage. Then your surgeon passed a guide wire through the catheter to the blockage. A balloon catheter was pushed over the guide wire and into the blockage. The balloon on the end was blown up. This opened the blocked vessel and restored proper blood flow to your heart. A stent is usually placed to prevent the vessel from collapsing again.
Your groin puncture may be sore for several days. You should be able to walk farther now without needing to rest, but you should take it easy at first. Full recovery from this procedure may take 6 - 8 weeks.
If the doctor put the catheter in through your groin:
You will need to care for your incision.
Walk short distances 3 to 4 times a day. Slowly increase how far you walk each time.
When you are resting, try keeping your legs raised above the level of your heart. Place pillows or blankets under your legs to raise them.
Angioplasty does not cure the cause of blockage in your arteries. Your arteries may become narrow again. To lower your chances of this happening:
Your doctor may recommend that you take aspirin or another medicine, called clopidogrel (Plavix), when you go home. These medicines keep blood clots from forming in your arteries and in the stent. Do NOT stop taking them without talking with your doctor first.
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty - peripheral artery - discharge; PTA - peripheral artery - discharge; Angioplasty - peripheral arteries - discharge; Balloon angioplasty - discharge
Creager MA and Libby P. Peripheral arterial disease. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Libby: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Saunders; 2007:chap 57.
Eisenhauer AC, White CJ. Endovascular treatment of noncoronary obstructive vascular disease. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 59.
Updated by: Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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