Myths and Facts About Angioplasty

Following Article is written by Dr. Devendra K Aggrawal

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure in which an obstructed or narrowed blood vessel is widened. It is done using a deflated balloon which is attached to a catheter and is passed over a guide-wire into the narrowed vessel and then inflated to its fixed size. The balloon forces the blood vessel and the surrounding muscular wall to expand, allowing better blood flow. To ensure the vessel remains open, a stent may be inserted at the time of ballooning. The balloon is then deflated and withdrawn.


After a successful angioplasty, most individuals feel an overwhelming sense of relief when symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath get resolved. However, there are some common myths about angioplasty which make life difficult for many people. Here is a list of myths and facts about angioplasty that everyone needs to know about:

1.Myth: A patient requires complete bed rest after getting discharged from the hospital post angioplasty.

Fact: A patient who had an elective (non-emergency) angioplasty procedure can resume all normal activities after a week. However, the patient is advised to avoid any strenuous activity and heavy lifting until a week or at least until the incision is recovered.
On the other hand, a patient who had an emergency angioplasty after a heart attack may require (4-6 weeks) to recover fully.

2.Myth: Patients can stop taking their heart medication if they start to feel better after angioplasty.

Fact: Doctors prescribe blood-thinning medications to the patients who undergo a stent implant during the procedure. This is done to prevent blood clotting. Patients who undergo bare-metal stent implant must take the medication for at least one month & thereafter as advised by the doctor. Whereas patients with drug-eluting stent are required to take medications for at least a year. Not taking the prescribed medication can increase a patient’s risk to develop blood clots, that cannot only block blood flow but also cause them to have another heart attack.

3.Myth: It’s dangerous to have sex after angioplasty.

Fact: Not only is sex permissible, but patients may be able to have a more active sex life because they feel better.
However, if the procedure was elective, a patient is required to wait only a few days. Patients who get an angioplasty because of a heart attack have to wait a little longer 6 weeks to resume sex. Also, the ability to have sex depends on the heart health as well as the overall health. In cases where doctor inserts the catheter for the angioplasty in the groin area, the patient may have to wait for the wound to heal. It is best to seek advice from the doctor whether it is okay to resume physical activities like sex after angioplasty.

4. Myth: The angioplasty procedure and stent will fix all heart problems.

Fact: A person feels immediately better after going through an angioplasty as it opens up the blocked blood vessel and the blood starts to flow freely. Even though a stent can fix a severe blockage, it does not cure the underlying cause of the blockage – which is the buildup of a fatty substance called plaque. The only way to prevent plaque from building up, by making healthy lifestyle (quit smoking, control BP & blood suger, LDL cholestrol levels changes. Also, the plaque is not only confined to just one area but can affect arteries throughout the body. Staying cautious about the heart disease treatment and the health of the heart, in general, is vital.

5. Myth: A person can continue to smoke after angioplasty.

Fact: Smoking increases the possibility of re-blocking a patient’s artery. People do not have to undergo another angioplasty procedure if they can prevent it merely by improving their lifestyle and quitting smoking.

If a person still has any doubts about angioplasty procedure, they should not hesitate to consult a specialist or a doctor. Also, getting heart attack treatment from one of the best hospitals like Max Healthcare ensures a speedy recovery.