By Dr. Himanshu Yadav, Cardiology
Many of you may have heard of Angioplasty in recent times. It is a medical procedure, which can open up narrowed/blocked arteries and restore the normal flow of blood. An estimated 60,000 Angioplasty procedures are performed every year in India. In most cases, patients feel relief and comfort following an Angioplasty.
However, there are several misconceptions regarding the whole procedure- its side effects, the recovery period etc. Due to lack of proper knowledge on the subject, many people fall prey to the myths surrounding Angioplasty. It is time that you burst the bubble and get your facts right.
• Myth- The patient is completely bed-ridden for at least a month following an Angioplasty
Fact - Patients, who have gone for an Elective Angioplasty (non-emergency), can get back to their normal life course in about a week. In fact, it is important that you try moving or walking around after being discharged from the hospital. However, the person needs to be very careful of the surgical wounds. You will be advised to avoid lifting heavy weights or engaging in strenuous physical activities until the wounds heal completely. Driving is also off the limits for at least a week or two.
• Myth- No need to continue medications after Angioplasty
Fact - In case a stent was used during the procedure, your doctor will recommend medications that help in blood thinning and prevent blood clotting. There is absolutely no reason to believe that your medications are off the list once you get an Angioplasty done because that would only increase the chances of a blood clot. The doctor will keep you on medication for a month at least if you have received a bare-metal stent. In case of a drug-eluting stent, you may have to continue your medications for a year.
• Myth - The patient has to keep away from having sex after Angioplasty
Fact - Sex is certainly permissible. In fact, you may be able to enjoy a more active sex life owing to the overall health benefits of an Angioplasty procedure. The condition of your heart improves a lot following Angioplasty because the flow of blood is restored in the arteries. Therefore, as soon as your wounds are healed, you are good to go!
• Myth – Angioplasty is the permanent cure to heart ailments
Fact - You may believe that a stent and an Angioplasty procedure are all it takes to cure the condition of your heart. However, this is not entirely true. A stent used during Angioplasty can certainly fix the artery blockage but it does not rectify the underlying cause that led to the blockage- accumulation of plaque, a fatty substance. Plaque does not confine to one particular area; it can affect the arteries throughout the body. The only way to prevent the build-up of this fatty plaque is to switch to a healthier lifestyle- healthy eating, regular exercise, abstaining from smoking etc.
Now that you have distinguished between the myths and facts surrounding Angioplasty, do not hesitate to undergo this medical procedure, if needed. You can consult your doctor to clear your doubts before going for an Angioplasty.