In general, people who have angioplasty can walk around within 6 hours after the procedure. Complete recovery takes a week or less. Keep the area where the catheter was inserted dry for 24 - 48 hours. If your arm was used, recovery is usually faster.
If the doctor put the catheter in through your groin:
- Walking short distances on a flat surface is okay. Limit going up and down stairs to around 2 times a day for the first 2 - 3 days.
- Do NOT do yard work, drive, squat, lift heavy objects, or play sports for at least 2 days, or for the number of days your doctor tells you to wait.
If the doctor put the catheter in your arm:
- Do NOT lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (a little more than a gallon of milk).
- Do NOT do any heavy pushing or pulling.
For a catheter in your groin or arm:
- Avoid sexual activity for 2 - 5 days. Ask your doctor when it will be okay to start again.
- You should be able to return to work in 2 - 3 days if strenuous activity is not part of your job.
- Do NOT take a bath or swim for the first week. You may take showers, but make sure the area where the catheter was inserted does not get wet for the first 24 - 48 hours.
You will need to take care of your incision.
- Your doctor or nurse will tell you how often to change your dressing.
- If your incision bleeds, lie down and put pressure on it for 30 minutes.
Many people take aspirin or another medicine -- such as clopidogrel (Plavix), prasugrel (Efient), or ticagrelor (Brilinta) -- after this procedure. These medicines are blood thinners, and they keep your blood from forming clots in your arteries and stent. A blood clot can lead to a heart attack. Take the medicines exactly as your doctor tells you. Do not stop taking them without talking with your doctor first.
You should eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise, and follow a healthy lifestyle. Your doctor can refer you to other health care providers who can help you learn about exercise and healthy foods that will fit into your lifestyle.