The National Heart Foundation and the World Health Organisation recommend that everyone who has had angioplasty should attend a cardiac rehab program. A good rehab program can reduce your risk of further problems. Ask your cardiologist for a recommendation.
To prevent the risk of bleeding at the catheter insertion site, you should avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities for 2 weeks. If you notice bleeding, contact your doctor immediately.
Watching out for infection
Signs of infection in the catheter insertion site include redness, heat, swelling, discharge and increased pain. If you think the wound might have become infected, contact your doctor immediately.
Shower or bath?
You can shower the next day but don’t swim, bathe or submerge the site for a week. It’s okay to remove the dressing and replace it with a clean bandage.
The doctor will prescribe anticoagulant medications which you’ll need to take indefinitely. You may also be prescribed medication to control your blood pressure and cholesterol (statins). Don’t stop taking your medications without consulting your doctor as it could increase your risk of heart attack.
If you have started taking a new anticoagulant, you may find that you bruise or bleed more after an injury.
While it can’t be reversed, you may be able to slow the progress of coronary artery disease with lifestyle changes:
Achieving your ideal weight. Have a look at our 18-week Healthy Weight for Life weight loss program, which is specially designed for overweight people living with heart conditions. It includes activity and portion-controlled eating plans, online tracking plus support via phone, SMS and email. The program is free for eligible HCF members with hospital cover.
If you smoke, this could be a good time to quit. This will have the biggest positive effect on your overall health. The free HCF Quit Smoking app can help you kick the habit.
Other changes that can reduce your risks include:
- eating healthy food
- being physically active
- managing your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol
- reducing stress
- drinking less alcohol.
Going back to work
You should be able to return to work after 1 week, but if your job involves heavy physical labour, check with your doctor first.
Returning to exercise
Check with your doctor before doing any aerobic or strength training.