According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, there are approximately 30,000+ cases of coronary angioplasty diagnosed and treated in Australia. Those who have been prescribed a surgical operation or recently have had one, question everything they know.
After all, matters of heart must never be taken lightly. However, there are many misconceptions that surround angioplasty patients. Myths that are far from reality and have been cultivated by patients themselves. However, a thorough discussion with your physician or surgeon will confirm that most of the fearful misconceptions are nothing but myths.
Recovery after any surgical procedure is a time consuming process. But just because your body is healing doesn’t mean that you must abstain from activities that you normally enjoyed before your operation. It is high time we clear misconceptions associated with any such activity for good.
Myth 1: I must take complete bed rest after being discharged
If the angioplasty was elective, you will be fit to resume all your routine activities in less than 2 weeks time. Many people even start walking their dog or doing small house chores within the first week post surgery. One may, of course refrain from any strenuous activity such as lifting heavy things, driving or bending inappropriately, but a complete bed rest is a personal preference and not recommended. Doctors usually recommend walking around.
However, if the angioplasty wasn’t planned (one was rushed to the hospital after a heart attack), one might consider taking bed rest for a several weeks before resuming regular chores.
Myth 2: I should forgo exercise
Exercise should be a part of your rehabilitation program after the surgery. Patients are also advised to perform some stretching exercises at home after being discharged. Abstaining from exercise will likely increase your chances for a need for angioplasty. Also, you will not be able to build up stamina any time soon if you give up exercise. Your body needs to get back in shape both mentally and physically and exercise is an important aspect of that.
Myth 3: Now that I have had angioplasty, I no longer need to take my heart meds.
If you received a stent during the procedure, it means that your blood is thick, which is what causes a clot in the arteries. If such was the case, you doctor will prescribe you blood thinning medications that must be taken at all costs to avoid the same from happening again in the future.
If you received a bare-metal stent, you must take medications for a month at the very least. If you received a drug-eluting stent, you must not forgo medications for at least a year. Heart medication will decrease your chances of suffering from a heart attack in the future.
Myth 4: All my heart problems are now fixed
It is obvious that you will feel better right after your angioplasty procedure. It is because your blood flow goes back to normal. But just because you had a procedure done once doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again. A stent might have fixed you up for now, but it isn’t a permanent solution. Thickening of blood and build up of fatty plaque can happen again, which is why your best bet to avoid another angioplasty is by changing your lifestyle.
Myth 5: I can smoke again without worrying
Talking about lifestyle changes, the one thing that frustrates most doctors is that people start to smoke again right after their angioplasty. Smoking is one of the primary causes of blocked arteries. Why not quit smoking when it can prevent your from having another angioplasty in the future?