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CORONARY ANGIOPLASTY HOW CAN I PREPARE MYSELF FOR THE ANGIOPLASTY?

There is not much preparation required for the angioplasty. However, a few useful hints are:

Get informed: about what to expect (reading this chapter is a good step in this direction).

Remember to take all your investigative reports (and angiography films if available) to the hospital.

Some hospitals may require you to be admitted a day prior to an elective angioplasty in order to carry out some tests.

An ECG and some blood tests may be required on an out-patient basis prior to the angioplasty.

Since blood has to be kept ready prior to angioplasty (in preparation for the rare event of the angioplasty failing and bypass surgery becoming necessary), it is useful to trace your blood donation cards and contact potential donors, especially if you have a rare blood group.

Diet: A nutritious diet before angioplasty prepares the body to overcome stress and speeds recovery. On the other hand, if you are overweight, any weight that you can shed is useful.

Smoking: Smoking damages the hearts and lungs. Smokers have a worse prognosis than non-smokers after angioplasty. Stopping smoking for even a few days prior to angioplasty is extremely helpful, since the body starts recovering within 24 hours from the noxious effects of nicotine and carbon monoxide contained in cigarette smoke. Smokers who stop tobacco before angioplasty have a lower restenosis rate than those who continue to smoke.

Alcohol: Cut down on alcohol and stop it totally a few days before angioplasty.

Stress: Cut down stressful situations. Don't attempt to finish off all your pending work on the day before you go to the hospital.

Rest: Don't allow yourself to get physically fatigued in the days before you go to the hospital. The more rested you are, the stronger your body will be.

Drugs: The doctor may ask you to start some medication a few days prior to angioplasty (e.g., blood thinners like aspirin and clopidogrel or ticlopidine if stenting is planned) or stop some other medications (e.g., warfarin, an anticoagulant). You should continue the other medication advised by your doctor right up to the day of the angioplasty.

Consent form: You will be asked to sign one or more consent forms, giving permission to the doctors to perform angioplasty, administer anaesthesia or perform emergency surgery if required. You should read these forms and if required ask for clarifications.

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