Cardiac catheterization is a common procedure used to check for areas of blockages in blood vessels. During this procedure, cardiologists may perform a balloon angioplasty to reopen a narrowed portion of the blood vessel, and they may place a stent at that site to keep the vessel open. A stent is a tiny tube made of wire mesh. You can hear an explanation of this procedure when you watch the accompanying video. It features a cardiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital.
Post-operative blood vessel blockages
After this procedure, it’s possible for a blood vessel to become narrow again, which is the reason why surgeons often place stents at the blockage site . It’s uncommon for another narrowing to occur at the stent site.
However, as the cardiologist in the accompanying video explains, it’s still possible for the patient to have a narrowing in a different, previously untreated part of the blood vessel.
Coronary artery blockages
When a coronary artery can’t transport enough blood to the heart, the patient can experience shortness of breath and angina, or chest pain. If the blood vessel is completely blocked, the patient suffers a life-threatening heart attack.
Patients suffering from possible heart attack symptoms should call 911 immediately. Emergency care can save lives and improve outcomes. The symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Pain that extends to the shoulders, upper back, upper abdomen or jaw
- Extreme fatigue
- Cold sweats
Post-operative lifestyle modifications
Patients who have had a stent placed are referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program. This is a comprehensive, patient-focused program that takes a collaborative approach toward managing heart disease to prevent blockages from affecting other areas of the coronary artery. In a cardiac rehab program, a patient may receive:
- Smoking cessation counseling
- Medication management assistance
- Nutritional guidance
- Exercise guidance
- Stress management guidance
Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital is the cardiology program of choice in San Jose and throughout Santa Clara County. Our commitment to healthcare excellence and our investment in state-of-the-art medical technology give our heart patients the best possible outcome. Call 911 if you require emergency care, or call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362 for general healthcare questions.