Is Discomfort After Angioplasty Normal?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My dad had an angioplasty last week and had two stents placed. Since coming home, he's had some chest and arm discomfort as well as periods of sweating. Are these normal post-angioplasty symptoms?

Expert Answer

Barry M. Massie is chief of cardiology at the San Francisco V.A. Medical Center.

It's not unusual to have brief episodes of chest pain in the first few hours after an angioplasty, but any sustained or recurrent chest pain, pressure, or discomfort should be reported to your father's physician. Prolonged symptoms may mean that the stent -- a small tube placed inside an artery to keep it open -- is becoming blocked or that a small branch was blocked in the process.

Since your father has been having discomfort for more than a week, he should call his doctor so that he can be evaluated. It's also very important that your father continue to take all of his recommended medications, especially aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) to prevent the stents from becoming blocked.