Life After Cardiovascular Surgery: What To Do After A Stent To Prevent Another Heart Attack

  • Physician Websites - Women's Health
  • September 27, 2021

After a heart attack, a cardiologist may install a stent. Making lifestyle changes may prevent another episode.

Heart Attack, Angioplasty & Restenosis

Aheart attack can happen when blood suddenly stops flowing to the heart due to a coronary artery blockage. To treat the blocked artery, a heart surgeon will perform an angioplasty procedure to restore blood flow. However, the artery may be blocked again after the angioplasty. This blockage is called restenosis. To prevent this from happening, a stent is placed inside the artery, specifically where the blockage was cleared.

viralmd digital marketing Life After Cardiovascular Surgery What To Do After A Stent To Prevent Another Heart Attack

What is a stent?

A stent is a tiny tube inserted in the artery to keep things open. Stents are made of metal or plastic. There are also stents made of a specialized fabric called stent-grafts and are used for larger arteries. In some cases, stents are coated with medication to prevent the artery from closing further. After surgery to install a stent, taking care of the stent can improve the quality of life.

Taking care of your stent after surgery

After a heart attack and surgery, a patient can stay in the hospital for up to a week. Once the patient is ready to be released, the medical team will provide specific care instructions. For starters, keep the area clean and dry while looking for signs of infection. During the next few weeks, patients must not perform strenuous activities. These include:

  • Avoiding lifting heavy objects.
  • Avoiding strenuous exercise and other activities.
  • Don’t engage in any sexual activity for at least one week.

Finally, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption to avoid any severe complications. Make sure to ask a healthcare provider as many questions as possible.

Preventing another heart attack

Taking care of a stent is one thing, but preventing another heart attack is just as important. Preventing another heart attack is all about being responsible and choosing healthy habits. Make sure to take any medication prescribed by the doctor to prevent another cardiac arrest. During the initial stages of recovery, the doctor will monitor the condition, so attend all follow-up appointments religiously.

Participate in cardiac rehab

In addition to medications and follow-up checkups, the doctor will also refer stent patients to a cardiac rehabilitation program. This program is a medically supervised course to help with heart attack recovery. The program usually encompasses:

  • An exercise specialist to keep patients active without tiring the heart.
  • Educational classes on how to lessen risks of complications.
  • Support for dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress.

By choosing rehab instead of returning to old habits, the chances of a heart attack reduce significantly.

Focus on a balanced diet

A healthy diet can do wonders for the body, especially after angioplasty and stenting. The proper diet lessens the risk of plaque build-up in the arteries. Consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains helps heart health. Eating whole foods instead of processed ones help to protect the heart and minimizing heart disease. Oily fish and healthy fats like avocado contain omega-3 fats that are great for heart health. Most of all, stay hydrated, avoid excess salt and sugar. These changes, when done consistently, will help with long-term recovery.

You’re not alone

Experiencing a heart attack and the subsequent surgery is life-changing. The experience makes people very anxious about every move, worrying that one mistake might trigger another cardiac event. That is entirely understandable. However, there are some steps to take care of the stent and prevent heart attacks. First, make sure to follow the health instructions of the medical team and take the necessary medication. Adopt the right diet, exercise, and stress management techniques for long-term success. Heart attack survivors, especially those with stents, can live a long, fruitful life with time and consistency.

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