7 Tips to Prepare for Stent Procedure

  • Middle aged Caucasian woman looking up talking to doctor with stethoscope checking heart
    What You Need to Know to Prepare for Cardiac Stent Surgery
    Receiving a coronary stent can be life-saving. If you have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, your doctor may discuss a stent procedure to reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Stent surgery is minimally invasive, which decreases your recovery time, post-procedure discomfort, and infection risk. During the procedure, your doctor will place one or more tiny metal coils in any coronary arteries that have become narrowed due to plaque buildup. This procedure restores blood and oxygen flow to the heart tissue. If you’re considering a stent procedure, try these tips to prepare for a successful operation.

  • Young female Caucasian patient talking to older Caucasian female doctor at desk in office
    1. Discuss the benefits and risks of cardiac stents with your doctor.
    Knowledge can calm your nerves, so be sure to engage in a thorough conversation with your cardiologist about the benefits and risks of angioplasty and stent placement. Ask which type of stent (bare metal or eluting) your doctor recommends for your situation, and learn about the relative risks of each. Ask what types of medications, if any, you will need after your surgery—and how long you’ll need to take them. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. As a well-informed patient, you’ll boost your odds of an uncomplicated recovery.

  • Overhead view of someone cutting into healthy meal of poached egg, salmon, cucumber and greens
    2. Learn lifestyle changes to address coronary artery disease.
    If you’re considering a stent procedure, it means you have coronary artery disease (CAD). Receiving heart stents can open clogged arteries, but you also should learn how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle to prevent additional arteries from becoming narrowed in the future. Adopt a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains. Start exercising regularly (if approved by your doctor). Even walking for 30 minutes three times a week is a great way to build a more active lifestyle. These strategies will prepare your body for surgery and aid your heart stent recovery.

  • Unseen Caucasian woman's hands holding pills in left hand and glass of water in right hand
    3. Tell your care team about all medications and supplements.
    Tell your doctor about every medication and supplement you currently take. Some medications and supplements may interact with drugs or dyes you’ll be given during the angioplasty procedure. Your doctor may advise you to discontinue certain medications or supplements several hours or days in advance of the surgery. Make sure you understand these instructions and get them in writing. If you inadvertently take a medication or supplement you weren’t supposed to, notify the anesthesiologist and your doctor when you arrive at the hospital. These steps will help keep you safe during the surgery.

  • African American female patient sitting on gurney talking to African American male nurse or doctor
    4. Let your care team know if you might be pregnant.
    Women should be sure to report any possible pregnancy to her doctor and the anesthesiologist as soon as possible. Period a couple of days late? Let the doctors know. Even if you believe the chance you’re pregnant is remote, it’s better for the care team to take precautions than to potentially injure a fetus. Pregnancy does not necessarily mean you can’t have the angioplasty procedure done. It just means your doctor may want additional tests beforehand

  • Image of alarm clock on empty dinner plate with knife and fork on table
    5. Stop eating and drinking at the appointed time.
    Your doctor will give you specific instructions about what time to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. You may need to stop eating up to 12 hours before the procedure and stop drinking clear liquids up to four hours prior. It’s important you adhere to these guidelines, because otherwise you run the risk of regurgitating stomach contents into your lungs during the procedure. This could be life threatening. Be sure to get the eating and drinking guidelines in writing. If you have any questions, ask your doctor in advance.

  • Senior Caucasian couple smiling at home in kitchen
    6. Plan ahead for your recovery at home.
    After your discharge from the hospital, you may need assistance at home for the first few days due to activity restrictions. Before your surgery, arrange with family members or friends to transport you to and from the procedure and to stay with you for a day or two afterwards. Plan for any medical equipment you might need, such as a freestanding commode if you have no bathroom on the first floor and your doctor advises against going up and down the stairs for a few days. Planning ahead can save you frustration or injury as you recover.

  • Unseen woman meditating outdoors at sunrise or sunset
    7. Find activities to lower your stress.
    Facing any type of surgery, even a minimally invasive one like angioplasty, can be nerve-racking. When you’re stressed, your blood pressure goes up. That’s not good for your heart. In the days or weeks leading up to your procedure, actively engage in activities to calm and soothe you. Perhaps you find comfort in prayer. Or maybe meditation. Aromatherapy can be beneficial, or hot baths. If you’re allowed to exercise, try taking long walks to release mood-boosting endorphins in your brain. No matter which approach you choose, reducing your pre-surgery stress will help you recover faster.

7 Tips to Prepare for Heart Stent Procedure | Coronary Stent Surgery

About The Author

As “the nurse who knows content,” Elizabeth Hanes, RN, works with national and regional healthcare systems, brands, agencies and publishers to produce all types of consumer-facing content. Formerly a perioperative and cosmetic surgery nurse, Elizabeth today uses her nursing knowledge to inform her writing on a wide variety of medical, health and wellness topics.
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  2. Stents. U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/stents
  3. Preparing for a Cardiac Catheterization. Cedars-Sinai. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/heart/resources/preparing-for-cardiac-procedures-and-studies/cardiac-catheterization.html
  4. Cardiac Catheterization. Kids Health, Nemours. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cardiac-catheter.html
  5. Angioplasty and Stent – Heart – Discharge. U.S. National Institutes of Health, MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000091.htm
  6. Angioplasty and Vascular Stenting. Radiology.org. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angioplasty#preparation
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Last Review Date: 2021 Apr 10
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