Sometimes arteries in the heart develop blockages. These blockages can be comprised of cholesterol, cells, or other things. The stuff that blocks arteries is often referred to as plaque. In some cases, arteries can also be blocked by a blood clot, which can lead to a heart attack. When arteries become blocked, doctors need to open them up to restore the flow of blood to the heart. One way this can be accomplished is with coronary angioplasty.
General Information About Coronary Angioplasty
Coronary angioplasty is sometimes called percutaneous coronary intervention. It’s a procedure that involves threading a catheter through a blood vessel to where the blockage is. The catheter is inserted through a small incision, often in the groin, but sometimes in the neck or arm. On the end of the catheter is a small, deflated balloon. When the catheter reaches the blocked part of the artery, the doctor inflates the balloon. This pushes the matter that causing the blockage against the walls of the artery, opening them up again so that blood can flow. In some cases, doctors will also insert a small device made of wire mesh, called a stent, to hold the artery open.
Coronary angioplasty is usually performed to relieve symptoms caused by blocked arteries, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. However, it can also be used to quickly unblock an artery during a heart attack to minimize damage to the heart.
Getting Ready for Coronary Angioplasty
The doctor will provide detailed instructions about how to prepare for the angioplasty. Your older family member will probably have to stop eating between six and eight hours before the angioplasty. Other instructions the senior may receive include:
- Information about how and whether to take current medications. They may instruct the older adult not to take certain medications before the procedure.
- Bring all medications to the hospital.
- If the older adult is supposed to take medications before the procedure, take them with small sips of water.
- Make sure the senior has someone to drive them home. They will likely spend at least one night in the hospital.
Home health care can assist older adults having coronary angioplasty. Home health care providers can remind them of the doctor’s instructions on the night before, making sure they take only the medications that have been approved. Home health care can also drive the older adult home from the hospital after the procedure. If needed, a home health care provider can also stay with the older adult in their home after bringing them home.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Sharon MA, or anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts, please call the caring staff at CARE Resolutions – (508) 906-5572.
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