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Chest Discomfort After Stent Placement: How Long Does it Last?

Chest Discomfort After Stent Placement

Apr 22, 2024 | Blog

Stent placement is a cardiac procedure that treats narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. It aims to open up narrowed arteries to ensure that blood flow is easier. This process improves the heart function and relieves symptoms of heart disease.

During stent placement, a small mesh tube (the stent) is put into the narrowed or blocked coronary artery through a catheter placed in the blood vessel. Once in position, the stent is expanded to open up the artery. Chest pain is a common complaint amongst most patients after stent placement. The discomfort may be from the stretching of the artery by the stent, the healing process, or the procedure itself. It resolves within 24 hours in most cases.

As an advanced cardiac and vascular center, CACVI is dedicated to providing comprehensive care and innovative treatments for heart and vascular conditions, including coronary artery stenting. With over thirty years of expertise performing more than 15,000 successful vascular and cardiac procedures. Reach out to us now for a free consultation

In this blog, we will talk about the entire process of stent placement and when to seek help.

What is Stent Placement?

What is Stent Placement?

Stent placement is a procedure that aims to open narrowed or blocked arteries that supply blood to the heart. Also known as coronary angioplasty or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), it plays a role in the treatment and management of coronary artery disease, a leading cause of angina (chest pain), myocardial infarction (heart attack), and other forms of heart disease.

There are primarily two types of stents used in medical practice; Bare-metal Stents (BMS) and Drug-eluting Stents (DES). BMS are the traditional stents used to keep the artery open. They are less commonly used today due to a higher risk of restenosis. On the other hand, DES are stents coated with medication and slowly released to help prevent the artery from getting blocked again. They have a lower risk of restenosis. 

Stent placement stands as one of the most complex coronary interventions in medical practice overall. It starts with the preparation process where patients may undergo coronary angiography to assess the severity and location of the blockage. Then, a small incision is made in the wrist or groin to access the artery, and the catheter is inserted through the incision. 

To locate the blockage, a special dye is injected through the catheter and x-rays are taken to visualize the blockage. Then, the balloon is inflated to widen the artery. For the stent placement itself, a stent mounted on the balloon catheter is positioned in the newly widened part of the artery. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands and locks in place to keep the artery open. Finally, the catheter and any other instruments are removed and the site of the incision is closed and bandaged. 

How Long Does Chest Discomfort Last After Stent Placement

How Long Does Chest Discomfort Last After Stent Placement

After stenting, patients often experience some degree of chest pain. It is a common part of the recovery process that lasts for about 24 hours following the procedure in most cases. It happens due to the artery’s expansion to accommodate the stent and the healing process that follows. The factors that influence the duration of discomfort in patients usually vary. Some of the factors include the patient’s level of pain tolerance, number of stents placed, location of the stent, overall health and risk factors, etc. 

When you begin to experience a decrease in the intensity of discomfort after a stent placement procedure, it is a sign of improvement and recovery. Typically, the discomfort reduces gradually and patients can resume normal activities. However, if the chest pain persists or worsens and symptoms of a heart attack occur, you should seek medical advice. 

Normal Post-Stent Placement Symptoms

After undergoing coronary angioplasty, patients may experience a range of symptoms such as chest pain, bruising at the catheter insertion site, minor bleeding, fatigue, etc. 

Typically, the chest pain is caused by the expansion of the coronary artery during stenting and the discomfort is short-lived. However, patients may also experience muscular or superficial chest pain. This results from the physical stress of the procedure on the body. Furthermore, some patients also complain of delayed discomfort and it might indicate a more serious issue. It could signify the formation of a blood clot during the stent, re-narrowing of the artery, or myocardial ischemia. 

The Healing Process

Post-stenting, you should closely follow the advice of your healthcare team. This includes taking prescribed medication to prevent blood clots and manage conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is also important to attend follow-up appointments. It ensures the stent is functioning correctly. 

For fast recovery, you may need to make certain lifestyle alterations like quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and exercising regularly. To manage the stress associated with the stenting process, it would help to engage in activities like meditation and yoga. In addition, you also need to limit strenuous activities like heavy lifting. 

Post Stent Placement Risks

Post Stent Placement Risks

The most common negative outcomes and risks associated with stent placement include restenosis, stent thrombosis, bleeding, coronary artery damage, and allergic reactions. Restenosis is the re-narrowing of the artery after a stent has been placed. According to studies and data, restenosis occurs in about 5% to 10% of cases with drug-eluting stents compared to 20% to 30% with bare-metal stents.

Stent thrombosis is a rare but serious complication where a blood clot forms inside the stent. This could lead to a heart attack. However, with the use of drug-eluting stents and antiplatelet therapy, the chances of this complication have reduced as it now occurs in less than 1% of patients. 

Major bleeding events occur in about 1% to 3% of patients undergoing coronary angiography. Factors that led to this occurrence include the patient’s age, kidney function, and the specific antiplatelet therapy used. 

During the stent implantation process, there is a small risk of damaging the coronary artery. This can happen as a result of passing instruments through the artery, and it may require further intervention to repair. The risk is low and varies depending on the complexity of the procedure and the patient’s artery condition.

There is also a small risk of allergic reaction to the contrast dye used during the arteries visualizing procedure. The risk of a serious allergic reaction is rare, but mild reactions may occur.

Managing Chest Discomfort Post-Stent Placement

Managing Chest Discomfort Post-Stent Placement

The first step to managing chest pain after stent placement is ensuring adequate rest and relaxation. You should allow your body to recover by taking it easy for the first few days after the procedure. Then, you can consider taking pain relievers like acetaminophen for more relief. However, always consult your healthcare team before taking any medication to ensure it’s safe and won’t interfere with your recovery.

Medications like aspirin and clopidogrel are also helpful for post-stent placement. They help prevent blood clots inside the stent and keep the artery open. They can also indirectly reduce chest pain by improving blood flow. In addition, statin drugs are also helpful as they lower cholesterol levels and prevent plaque buildup in arteries. These can help reduce chest pain. 

Another important post-stent procedure would be making lifestyle modifications. These include quitting smoking, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. All these are necessary for living a healthy lifestyle. 

Furthermore, you should be diligent with your follow-up appointments. It allows your doctor to monitor your recovery and make necessary adjustments to your medications. Also, participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program can be beneficial. The cardiac rehabilitation team would offer tailored exercises, education, and support to help patients recover from heart procedures, manage conditions, and improve their quality of life.

Concerning Post-Stent Symptoms

Concerning Post-Stent Symptoms

While most people experience a relatively smooth recovery after stent placement, there are less common symptoms that can arise. They include shortness of breath, severe chest pain, fever and chills, changes in skin color or temperature, abnormal heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, etc. These could indicate potential complications or the need for additional medical attention. 

If you experience any of these symptoms after a stent placement, you should seek medical advice immediately. In the case of severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, fainting, or signs of a heart attack, calling an ambulance is the recommended course of action. It is also important to maintain open communication with your healthcare provider.

When to Seek Help

If you experience mild to moderate chest pain and temporary fatigue after stenting, it is an indicator of a normal recovery process. However, if the chest pain persists and you begin to have shortness of breath and fever, it could be an indication of potential complications. You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of these persistent symptoms.

As a patient, you need to recognize early warning signs. Early detection of complications can impact the outcome and allow for timely medical interventions. Through patient education, you get to know more about the condition and also make informed decisions. Once anything seems out of place, reach out to your healthcare provider immediately. 

Long-Term Care and Prevention

Long-Term Care and Prevention

After stent placement, patients are at a continuous risk of future cardiac events, including heart attacks and the need for additional stenting or procedures. Long-term care focuses on monitoring heart health, managing risk factors, and adhering to a treatment plan to reduce these risks. Regular follow-up appointments with the healthcare team allow for timely adjustments in treatment and early detection of potential complications. Several lifestyle changes are recommended to maintain heart health and prevent stent blockage. These include a healthy diet, regular exercise, limiting alcohol intake, etc. 

Adherence to prescribed medications is critical for the long-term success of stent placement. Medications like antiplatelet agents, statins, beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors play a significant role in preventing blood clots, managing high blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol levels. These medications help keep the stent open, improve blood flow to the heart muscle, and reduce the risk of future cardiac events.

Seek Free Medical Advice from Certified Advanced Cardiac Specialists

Stent placement aims to improve heart function. However, most patients complain about chest pain after the procedure due to the artery’s expansion and healing process. Getting adequate rest is necessary for managing chest pain after stenting. It helps your body heal and recuperate.

For individuals at risk of heart disease or those who have undergone stent placement, it’s important to seek professional advice and preventive care. At CACVI, we offer a range of diagnostic and therapeutic services tailored to enhancing cardiac health. You can schedule a cardiac disease evaluation online or by visiting our Center for advanced cardiac and vascular interventions in LA. 

Our specialists can provide personalized insights and treatment plans optimized for you. We are waiting for you! 

CONTACT CACVI

If you were told you need an amputation, get a second opinion! We are board certified consultants in endovascular interventions committed to improving the quality of your life and the lives of those you love!

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