Category: Treatment

Ibuprofen Leads to Heart Failure – FDA Warns

Ibuprofen & heart disease

Ibuprofen belongs to a class of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAID). These drugs are widely used as painkillers and to combat fever.

In 2005 FDA stated that Ibuprofen carried Cardiovascular Disease risk along with Gastro Intestinal bleeding. Moreover, it warned people with recent Bypass surgery to avoid Ibuprofen.

Manufacturers of these drugs were asked to include above warnings within their label.

In 2015, FDA again warned the potential effects of Ibuprofen. It was stricter than the previous statement. It asked all patients to seek immediate medical attention if symptoms such as weakness, chest pain or slurred speech showed up.

Here are some important points to note:

  1. The risk of heart attack or stroke increases within the first week of taking Ibuprofen.
  2. The risk increases with duration.
  3. The risk of heart attack further increases with higher dosage
  4. Patients without any heart disease are also at increased heart attack risk
  5. Risk is much higher in patients with previous heart disease history

Finally, FDA advises to stay alert and report any side effects immediately to Medwatch.

The American Heart Association takes a step further in this issue. It has released this news stating that even common nutritional supplements increase heart failure risk.

Common painkillers like Ibuprofen interfere with diuretic medications. This leads to fluid and sodium retention in the body making high blood pressure medications less effective.

Other drugs for cold and heartburn also contain significant amount of sodium. Unfortunately, sodium is restricted through the use of diet and medication in heart patients.

The American Heart Association also targets alternative medicine which is used to treat heart attack or failure.

Drugs that are dangerous for heart patients according to American Heart Association include:

  1. ephedra
  2. St. John’s wort
  3. Ginseng
  4. Hawthorn
  5. Danshen and
  6. Green Tea

Furthermore, American Heart Association has advised to carry all medications at every visit. Inform your doctor about these medications you take before starting or stopping a drug.

To Summarize, don’t take painkillers and avoid treating yourself for heart disease.

Note: When we mention Ibuprofen it represents all NSAID with the exemption of Aspirin.

Complete List of Statin Side Effects


Physicians prescribe statins for patients with high cholesterol and decrease heart attack risk. Although statins are very effective, they have been associated with muscle pain, mental fuzziness, and digestive problems. It may cause liver damage on rare occasions. Statins commonly prescribed are; fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), pitavastatin (Livalo), lovastatin (Altoprev), rosuvastatin (Crestor) pravastatin simvastatin (Zocor) as well as (Pravachol).

Statins block a compound that the liver requires to manufacture cholesterol. It stimulates liver to get rid of cholesterol. However, if you have been experiencing some side effects from statins, do not stop your medication just like that. Talk to your physician about a change in dosage or request for another form of medicines.

What are some of the statin side effects?

Muscle pain and damage

Many of those who have taken statins have complained about muscle pain. They appear in the form of soreness, weakness or tiredness in your muscles. You might experience some mild pain, or even experience severe pain that makes you unable to work and engage in any active activities.

Oddly enough, there have been numerous studies about statins that show people taking it develop muscle pain the same to those who take the placebo. The research has also shown that about 30 percent of those who use statins report muscle pain and a big percentage of the cease to use the drugs as soon as they experience the side effects.

It is very rare for statins to cause deadly damage of the muscle which is known as rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis usually lead to chronic muscle pain, kidney failure, and liver damage and sometimes even cause death. The risk of very chronic side effects is somewhat negligible and only a small percentage of those taking statins. Rhabdomyolysis usually arises when you use statin with other drugs. It may also occur if you overdose the medication.

Liver damage

Occasionally, the use of statin could stimulate more production of enzymes that cause the liver to swell. If the increase is small, you can still take the drug. Rarely, if the swelling is dangerous, you may be forced to use another type of statin. Although issues with life rarely occur, your physician may order a liver enzyme test as soon as you have started using the drug. However, your body doesn’t require liver enzyme tests unless you start showing signs of problems with your liver. Go and see your care provider as soon as you can, if you have unusual weakness, pain in the upper part of the abdomen, lack of appetite, the yellowing of the skin or eyes and even dark urine.

Increased blood sugar/ type 2 diabetes

The use of the statin can truly lead to an increase in blood sugar, which may trigger the development of type 2 diabetes. Although the risk is nothing to worry about, the Food and Drug Administration-FDA has published a warning on statin labels about diabetes and blood sugar levels.

Statins inhibit the possibility of getting heart attacks in those who have diabetes. Therefore, the small increase in the level of sugar with statins studied in individual patients is not yet certain. The advantages of using statins apparently outweigh the small risk to have the blood sugar level increase.

Neurological side effects

The FDA has also issued a report on its labels that individual patients have developed memory loss while using statins. The side effects reverse once you cease using the drug. There is no sufficient evidence to prove there is a cause-effect. However, communicate with your physician if you experience memory loss while using the medication. But there is proof that statins improve the function of the brain especially in patients with dementia.

But, it is not yet studied that the common problems patients experience when using these medications caused by the drug.  Research has suggested that there are similar side effects in most people. No matter if a placebo or statin is used.

What are some of the few side effects of the statin?

•    Feeling sick

•    Weight gain or losing appetite

•    Experiencing nightmares and insomnia

•    Dizziness

•    Peripheral neuropathy. Which is the loss of sensation in the nerve endings of your hands and feet

•    Memory issues.

•    Problems with the eye visions –if you experience this, don’t use machinery, tools or drive for your safety

•    Persistent ringing in the ears

Memory, thinking as well as concentration

Certain individuals have complained about changes in memory, concentration or attention on statins.  They may find it hard to spell and mention certain words correctly, forget certain tasks they have been doing earlier; and difficulty in concentrating during conversations. Others say that they experience holes in their memory, while there are those who think they are developing Alzheimer’s.

Of course, many of those who use this drug are seniors, and for that reason, they may experience loss of memory, and it is not simple to know if the drugs are responsible.  However, there are those who claimed to have experience improvement in memory and thinking when they cease using statins or development if the dosage is reduced significantly.  These findings prove that statin is responsible.

At the moment, there is two randomized controlled test that studied these drugs. One of the trials was done in 2000 and published the same year in May in the journal referred to as American Journal of Medicine.  Dr. Matthew Muldoon is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and he stated that statin drugs had been proven to minimize cognition meaning those who were on a statin drug did not do real tests of memory ability and thinking, even though they began at the same time as those who were under a placebo pill.

On average the effects were termed as negligible, but of course, there are those who don’t have alteration, while there are those who get a huge loss when it comes to memory and thinking.  The second study which was done by Dr. Muldoon shared similar thoughts.  However, in a separate test of the drug, there were no effects on cognitive function.  That study, individuals aged 70 above, was not expressly meant to assess the effect of the medication thinking, but there were some indications on cognitive function.

Depression and Irritability

Some people have experienced in the mood on statins on things such as loss of interest in activities as well as a loss of interest in social involvement.  There have patients who have claimed about Frank depression. However, there is no report that the side effects of statin are more common in patients taking statins than in those who don’t.  However, individual patients lose their moods while on the drugs and better when not using the drug.  It is possible that there are patients who show an improvement in their mood with low cholesterol, although it has not sufficiently been proved.  In rare occasions, psychosis, violence, as well as suicide, have been witnessed.


Although muscle pain is a side effect of the drug that is well known, there have been other pain effects that have been reported by those who are using statins, but have not been researched on extensively include joint pains, headaches as well as abdominal pain.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Studies have also shown that peripheral neuropathy may occur to those under statins medication.

Rare side effects

•    visual problems

•    bruising easily or bleeding

•    jaundice

 Who can experience the side effects of the statin?

•    Using several drugs to lower your cholesterol

•    Being a female

•    Having a small body

•    Age 65 and above

•    Having liver or kidney disease

•    Taking excess alcohol

•    Food and drugs that the drug causes the effects to statin

Grapefruit juice features a chemical that can affect the enzymes that metabolize the statin in the digestive system. While it is not a must to eliminate grapefruit entirely from diet, talk to your physician about how much grapefruit you can have.

The following drugs that may be associated with statins also may cause side effects, and they include

•    Amiodarone – a medication for irregular heart beats

•    Lopid- another type of cholesterol drug

•    Protease inhibitors, such as ritonavir (Norvir) and saquinavir

•    Certain antifungal and antibiotic and medications, such as itraconazole, and clarithromycin and such as cyclosporine- Gengraf, and Neoral,

Their hundreds of drugs that associate with statins, so make sure that your physician knows all the medicines you take when being prescribed with statins.

What causes statin side effects?

No one knows what causes the side effects of statin, sorer the muscle pain.

Statins work by reducing the speed of production of cholesterol in your body. Your body manufactures only the cholesterol it requires by digesting food and building new cells. When this production is slowed down, the body starts to draw the cholesterol it requires from the food you consume, lowering the amount cholesterol. Statins may not only affect the ability of the liver to produce cholesterol but also various enzymes in muscle cells that promote muscle growth. The effects of medication on th the proteins and cells may be lead to muscle aches.

How to relieve statin side effects

To alleviate the effects of statin, your physician will recommend various options. Talk about the steps with your care provider before trying them: Take a small break from statin therapy. At certain times you can easily tell whether the muscle aches or the issues you are facing are as a result of statin side effects or just as a consequence of aging. Taking a brief break can help you know if statins or other factors cause your aches and pains.

Switch to another type of statin drug. 

It may happen, although not likely, that a given statin have side effects on you while a different type of statin would just be okay. People think that Zocor may use lead to muscle pain as a side effect. Reducing your medications may reduce some of the side effects, but it may also compromise a few cholesterol-lowering benefits the drugs have. You can also take the drug on a daily basis

Be easy when exercising because vigorous exercise may increase the risk of muscle injury in patients who are taking statins. It is wise to have changes in your exercise routine each step at a time. Training lead to muscle pain as well. So, it may be hard to know whether the pain is caused by the statin or the exercise in a person who has just begun working out.

Consider other cholesterol-lowering options. But statins are work effectively and are very good at reducing your cholesterol. You can also purchase other forms of the drug in the stores. Using several types of cholesterol drugs can give you the same result. You can as well use coenzyme Q10 supplements. This is because they are known to reduce the side effects of statin in certain individuals, though there is extensive research that needs to be done to determine any benefits of statins.

Weigh the risks and benefits

Although the side effects of the drug can be irritating, taking into account the benefits of taking a statin before choosing your preferred medication. Statins drugs help to reduce heart attack and stroke, and the risk of getting deadly diseases.

Although the side effects may annoy you, don’t cease using statin medication at any point without communicating to your physician.  The doctor will share with you a plan that can lower your cholesterol irritating side effects.

If you feel as if the drug causes the effects, ask your care provider to do a test in which you stop taking the medicine, or minimize the medication.  If you and your care provider think that it is safe to try out, the symptoms may come back or worsen once you start using the drug again. You may use another statin medication or a non-statin drug.


Heart Stents – What is Their Life Expectancy?

How long does a stent last?

This question troubles all those who had stent(s).

Well, here is the shortest answer: stent is for life. In other words, stent is permanent.

Stents are made up of metal. Usually, today’s stents are drug eluting. Stent is coated with anti clotting drug. When it’s placed within an artery the coated drug dissolves over several years. Therefore, you need not worry about stent’s life. But you need to worry whether the stent is functioning properly.

Therefore, the question you must ask is:

How Can I Get the Most Benefit from Stent?

Your body considers stent as alien. After stent is placed, blood will rush to clot over a stent. Hence, it is necessary to take anti clotting drugs like Clopidogrel. Aspirin is obvious. You will be prescribed Clopidogrel for months or a year but Aspirin is for your life.

Sometimes, stents damage inner artery walls.

Finally, within years stent will get blocked. In such cases, your doctor will either recommend another stent procedure or bypass.

Therefore, after a stent procedure, ensure to take prescribed medicines. Most important of all eat healthy and exercise regularly.

A stent procedure is no guarantee that you won’t have another block.

Note: This article discusses stents made up of metals. 

How Aspirin Works, Uses, Side Effects & Who Should Avoid

Aspirin was commonly prescribed as pain reliever. Today it is used to manage heart diseases. But, how many of us know how it works, its uses and side effects? Probably most take it for granted.

In this post, we will look into how Aspirin works in preventing and managing heart attacks.

How it Works?

Aspirin works in two ways. First it decreases inflammation (which is root cause for heart attacks). Secondly, it reduces formation of blood clots (which causes heart attacks).

Plaque builds upon inflamed arteries. Aspirin works directly to inhibit inflammation. It blocks an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. This further reduces the production of prostaglandins. And prostaglandins are responsible for inflammatory response.

Heart attacks occur when built up plaque bursts open. Blood rushes to form a blood clot. Blood clots are formed when blood platelets clump together. Again prostaglandins are responsible for formation of blood clots. Therefore, when prostaglandins are inhibited, bloods clots are reduced.

Uses of Aspirin?

Aspirin is mostly used during a heart attack. After you call 911, the operator may ask you to chew one. As you know Aspirin decreases formation of blood clots. Therefore, the damage caused by reduction in blood flow is less. Moreover, it also provides time to reach the hospital.

Aspirin is also taken to prevent heart attacks. People with high risk for heart disease pop low dose Aspirin once a day. The benefit from Aspirin increases with risk. If you are low on risk for heart disease then Aspirin may not be beneficial. People at high risk for heart disease include:

  • smokers
  • diabetics
  • family history of heart disease
  • obesity
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • people who experience Angina.

Read everything about Angina and how to recover here.

Aspirin is also taken to prevent a second heart attack.

How to Take Aspirins?

  • If it’s chewable Aspirin then chew it.
  • If it’s extended-release, do not chew, crush or break. Swallow whole.
  • Do not take Aspirin on empty stomach. Take them after meals. In this way you will avoid upset stomach.
  • Never take Aspirin with alcohol. It increases the possibility of stomach bleeding.

Side Effects of Aspirin:

Every medication has side effects. Here are some side effects:

  • Severe headache as a result of bleeding into the brain.
  • Hives
  • Asthma attack
  • Your throat, lips, tongue or/and might swell
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Nosebleeds
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Bloody stools
  • Bloody urine (it may also appear pink)
  • stomach ulcer
  • nausea
  • Ringing in the ears

Call your doctor immediately, if you notice any of the above symptoms.

Who Should Avoid Aspirin?

  1. Heavy drinkers must not take Aspirin. Aspirin thins your blood and alcohol has the same affect. Taking Aspirin will further thin your blood leading to adverse effects.
  2. People who have bleeding problems (ulcers).
  3. Pregnant women and those trying to get pregnant.
  4. People under age 18 and recovering viral infection should not take Aspirin.
  5. And those who are allergic to Aspirin.

How to Care for Your Heart After Bypass Surgery

After Bypass, the responsibility is yours. You need to work towards healing and getting back to normal life. Usually it takes 6 to 8 weeks. Your doctor must already have given a plan. However, we have  provided some crucial points which will help in getting your health back.

Making Lists:


As soon as you settle at home do these things:

  1. Have a separate file for all instructions the medical team gave you. It is usually on how to care for yourself.
  2. Note the list of contacts (doctors and family member) incase you need them in emergency. Doctors and hospital emergency contact numbers must be listed. In case, you have any doubts, you can clarify calling these numbers.
  3. Have a Medicine Kit. This medicine must be different from previous ones. It must contain only medications intended after your Bypass surgery.
  4. Have your insurance card in your wallet. In case of emergency it will come in handy.

Taking Care of Incision:

Incisions are common in surgeries. In bypass there are two types:

  1. Traditional incisions and
  2. Minimal Invasive incisions

Traditional incisions are done when open heart surgery is performed. The sternum (middle of your chest) is split open to reveal your heart. After completion of surgery, it is stichted together using sternal wires. The outer incision (your skin) is either stitched traditionally/internally stitched or glued.

Image showing Sternum and Incision
Image showing Sternum and Incision

In Minimally invasive methods small incision is made which do not interfere with sternum.

 Care for Incisions while bathing:

It is okay to bath. However, do not soak in tub. Wash incisions daily with mild soap. Do not use soap directly on incisions. Use soap water to gently rub on incision. After bathing pat dry. The scab on your chest will fall off within a month. Until that time do not use lotion or ointment.

While showering turn your back towards the spray. If you can’t stand get a shower stool. Ask someone to get you in and out of shower till you regain strength.

Signs of Infection:

If you notice any of below infection signs call your doctor:

  1. Swelling on Oozing from incision
  2. Edges of incision pulling apart
  3. Warm feeling over the incision area
  4. Redness around incision
  5. Fever higher than 100F

Other signs (which are not infection) to note are:

  1. when your breastbone moves inside
  2. when you hear a pop or crack while you move.

Coping with Swelling Legs

If a vein was taken from your leg then it will swell occasionally. The swelling is caused due to improper blood supply (since a vein was taken). Here are some tips to cope with leg swelling:

  1. Wear white support stockings daily. Remove it in evenings. Continue until swelling stops
  2. Do not cross your legs.
  3. Whether you are sitting or sleeping rest your legs a little higher. Use pillows while sleeping and another couch while sitting.
  4. Walk daily for increased circulation.

Watching Your Weight


After surgery some people experience fluid retention. This is caused by improper heart or kidney function. Check your weight daily to eliminate the possibility of fluid retention.

Things to do Daily:

  1. Check your weight daily. Use a digital scale.
  2. Record your weight.
  3. Take the record with you when visiting your doctor.

If you see 3 lb or more increased weight within 2 days let your doctor know immediately.

Activities – Do’s and Don’ts


First two months after bypass surgery are crucial. The sternum won’t heal like other bones. It is held together by a strong wire. It will only heal if it’s in place constantly. If you do any strenuous activity there are chances of sternum edges being shifted.

Some Do’s and Don’ts:

  1. Do not drive. You can travel as passenger
  2. Do not life weights greater than 5 lb. These include children and trashes.
  3. Do not stand in one place longer than 15 minutes.
  4. Do not push or pull heavy items.
  5. Walk slowly everyday.

Approximately it take 2 months till you can return to your normal lifestyle. Talk with your doctor before regaining normal activities.

Some Tips on Exercising After Bypass Surgery


Here are some tips to exercise after surgery:

  • Walk daily. Take short walks throughout the day. Do not over exert yourself.
  • Stop immediately if you experience pain or discomfort
  • Have someone walk with you
  • Increase your walking distance daily or weekly
  • Climb the stair slowly, each step at a time.

Changing Your Lifestyle After Bypass Surgery

Surgery alone won’t help. You need lifestyle changes. But the most important ones are below:

  1. Stop Smoking. If you never smoked, congrats!
  2. Reduce your alcohol intake. If possible, avoid altogether.
  3. Eat a healthy balanced meal.
  4. Exercise regularly.

How is Coronary Bypass Surgery Done & When?

Coronary artery bypass surgery is done using a healthy blood vessel to substitute damaged artery. When plaques build along the inner walls of arteries they restrict blood flow. A bypass surgery is done to bring the blood flow back to normal.

When is Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery Recommended?

This entirely depends on your situation. You, can have angioplasty as alternative. Then again, you need to talk with your doctor.

However, here are some common cases where Bypass Surgery is preferred:

  1. Previously you had Angiplasty and it didn’t work.
  2. The artery is severly damaged and it won’t survive a stent.
  3. Previously placed stent gets blocked, increasing the chance of heart attack.

Depending upon your situation cause will differ.

How is Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery Performed?

You will receive a general anesthesia and become unconsious. An incision is made in the middle of chest. Rib cage is then opened up exposing the heart.

A healthy blood vessel usually from leg is taken.

By now, Heart Lung machine is connected. The machine will pump oxygenated blood throughout your body.

The healthy blood vessel is implanted in such a way that blood flow instead of passing through damaged artery passes through the new vessel.

Surgeons check the functioning of newly placed blood vessel. If everything is alright then you are stitched up.

Risks involved?

Here are some risks which can arise after surgery:

  1. Heart Attack
  2. Bleeding
  3. Blood Clot
  4. Chest Pain
  5. Memory loss (usually temporary)
  6. Infection at incision point
  7. kidney failure
  8. Reaction to General Anesthesia

What are the Alternatives?

There are three main alternatives to Bypass Surgery. They are:

Enhanced External Counterpulsation:

In Enhanced External Counterpulsation therapy blood pressure cuffs are used. They are tied at your lower limbs. When the heart relaxes a compression is sent electronically. The compression increases blood flow to the heart. The increased blood flow provides sufficient blood flow to the heart. As time passes, the heart starts developing branches of arteries to cope with increased blood flow. This new branch of arteries act as natural bypass for damaged arteries.


Angioplasty involves using a balloon to compress the plaque and stents to keep the arteries from blocking again. This is most popular alternative for Bypass sugeries. For more infomarion on how Angioplasty is done please read this article on Angioplasty.


Medicines too are used to unblock arteries. However, if you depend only on medicine the dosages are strong and you need to follow strict diet for significant changes. Usually, you are put on cholesterol lowering drugs along with other drugs.

Talk with your cardiologist for alternatives and their respective risks. Choose the one with more benefit to less risk ratio.

Note: No matter what alternative you choose your diet is most important. Even after a Bypass Surgery it’s vital to eat healthy diet.

How Statins Work & Their Side Effects

Statins are medication used for lowering cholesterol. 80% of cholesterol is synthesized by human body while 20% come from diet. If cholesterol levels get high, Statins are used to bring it down.

Statins can bring down the percentage of LDL to 50% and increases HDL by 15% within a short period. You can start seeing significant changes in 2 to 4 weeks of taking Statin.

How Does Statin Lower Cholesterol?

Statins help lower cholesterol in two ways:

  1. Statin inhibits HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme used in production of cholesterol by your liver. The end result being less production of cholesterol by liver.
  2. Secondly it absorbs cholesterol present in your body.

When are Statins Prescribed?

Statins are usually prescribed to people with the following conditions:

  1. Angina pectoris (chest pain) due to atherosclerosis (lesion in arteries)
  2. History of Heart Attack to prevent any further attacks
  3. High risk for heart attack
  4. Increased level of blood cholesterol. If the LDL level is above 190 mg/dL or greater.
  5. People with diabetes and level of LDL between 70 and 189 mg/dL.

What are the Types of Statins?

  • Atorvastatin
  • Cerivastatin
  • Fluvastatin
  • Lovastatin
  • Mevastatin
  • Pitavastatin
  • Pravastatin
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Simvastatin

Each type of statin has different potential. The most potent being Rosuvastatin and Atorvastatin. And least potent being Fluvastatin.

These statins are marketed with different brand names such as Crestor, Lipitor, Lescol, Pravachol, Vytorin, Zocor etc.

Side Effects of Statins

Here are some side effects starting from most common to rarest ones:

  • Headaches
  • Gastro Intestinal problems
  • Muscle and joint Pain
  • Rash
  • Memory loss
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Sugar
  • Mental confusion
  • Muscle or Liver Damage

Who Should Not Take Statins?

People with liver disease and women who are pregnant, breast feeding or trying to get pregnant should avoid statins.

Statins react with other medications. Below is a list of medication. If you are on any one of them then you shouldn’t take statin.

  1. Clarithromycin
  2. Diltiazem
  3. Erythromycin
  4. Itraconazole
  5. Fibrate &
  6. Verapamil

How to Get the Most from Statin Drugs?

Best way to achieve full potential of Statin drug is to exercise and eat healthy diet. Depending upon your fitness level the type of exercise you can do will vary. As to diet, consume less amounts of animal fats especially liver.

P.S: My Dad got his third heart attack after eating a plate of chicken liver. 

What are Alternatives to Statins?

Here are some alternatives to Statins:

  1. Fish Oil – Fish oils are known to reduce triglyricides level by 50%. Moreover, it also boosts HDL levels. Most studies show that 1 to 4 gm of Fish oil are beneficial.
  2. Sterols and Stanols – These are supplements which reduce the LDL level by 15%. Experts recommend a daily dosage of 2 gm.
  3. Soluble Fiber – These are present in our food. For every 10 gm of fiber consumed you lower 5% of LDL. It is recommended to take 30 gm of Fiber per day. Most fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber including oats.

Important: Talk with your doctor for statin alternatives or before stopping statins.

Coronary Angioplasty: How and When is it Done

After an Angiogram, depending upon the lesion Angioplasty is recommended. It is also advised in cases of emergency like after a Heart Attack.

Angioplasty is fairly an easy procedure. It takes anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours. In some cases it can take more than 2 hours.

Before Angioplasty:

If your doctor has advised for Angioplasty then a general health check up and blood test is done. Theses are done to ensure your body is operable. After everything is found normal green signal is given.

Before Angioplasty, you are not supposed to eat for 6 to 7 hours. Regarding medication, you can take them normally until the previous day of Angioplasty procedure. Any further information, depending upon your health, your cardiologist will advise.

Angioplasty Procedure:


Angioplasty is done in a catheterization lab. You will be asked to lie on an X-ray table. A heart monitor and IV line is fitted. Local anesthesia is used to numb your skin.

An incision is made under your groin. A sheath (small tube) is inserted into the artery to keep it open. Within this sheath a catheter is passed through your artery into left or right coronary artery guided through X-ray imaging.

A thin wire with a ballon at its tip is passed through the catheter. The wire is further guided towards blockage and ballon is inflated and then deflated. This causes the lesion (plaque) to be squashed. The procedure might be repeated for several times.

Ballon is inflated for 20 to 30 seconds. During this period you will miss or have an extra heart beat. Mild pain in the chest is also normal. If you feel uncomfortable, tell your cardiologist.

When procedure is finished, the wire, catheter and sheath are removed. the incision is closed through pressure or plug.

After Angioplasty:

Usually you will stay overnight after procedure. After you are discharged the necessary advice for your recovery is provided.

The incision will be sore for few days. If you notice bleeding rush to the hospital and let your cardiologist or General physician know.

You shouldn’t drive within the recovery period. Heavy weight lifting and strenuous work is prohibited until you recover completely.



Stent (wire-mesh tube) maybe recommended. In this case, the stent is placed above the ballon and inflated. After ballon is deflated the stent keeps the artery open.

There are two types of Stents:

  1. Bare Metal and
  2. Drug-eluting

Bare Metal Stents:

This type of stent has no coating. Once in place it helps the artery to heal asap. However, the problem is that these type of stent get blocked again. Bare metal stent are viewed as foreign agents and immune system attacks it creating a block within the artery. To avoid this problem Drug-eluting stents are used.

Drug-eluting Stents:

This type of stents are coated with medication. After being placed within the artery, coated medication gets dissolved over a period of time which prevents any immune system attack and further blocking. The only downside is that coronary arteries do not heal asap.

Today 70% of cardiologists use Drug-eluting stents. You can discuss with your cardiologist and depending on the risk and beneficial factor choose type of stent.