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Discharge advice following angioplasty

This leaflet has been designed to provide you with some information to help you recover from your recent intervention to improve the arterial blood supply to your legs.

You will be discharged home with plaster covering the area in your groin where the wire was passed into your leg artery. You may bath or shower with the plaster in place and it can be removed after 24 hours. The area should be completely healed by now and should not require any further plasters to cover it. You may have a small bruise develop in this area; occasionally this becomes larger and uncomfortable. If this happens, there is a risk of it becoming infected and you should seek advice from your GP. It is advisable to keep the wound clean.

It is advisable to gradually increase the amount of exercise that you undertake, lengthening the distances that you walk. If the angioplasty was undertaken to increase the blood supply to your legs as your walking was previously limited by a sensation of cramp, we would like you to try and walk further than you did prior to your angioplasty, so that you can judge what benefit you have had from the procedure. Mobility is dictated in part by your general fitness, as well as other conditions such as arthritis and therefore will vary from patient to patient. You may experience some discomfort in your groin with movement. A simple painkiller such as paracetamol should be sufficient to ease this to help you to resume your normal level of activity.

You will be fit enough to start driving again when you are able to perform an emergency stop comfortably. Driving too soon after an investigation such as this may affect your insurance. If you are in any doubt about re-starting driving, please speak to your general practitioner or the vascular team when you come to the outpatient clinic, which is normally six weeks after your discharge from hospital. We also advise that you check your insurance policy details or to contact your insurance company.

Returning to work
If applicable, you will be fit enough to return to work within a few days of the investigation, depending on your job and any discomfort you any be experiencing in your groin.

If you are a diabetic on METFORMIN tablets the doctors will advise you when to restart taking this and arrange for you to have a blood test. You should continue to take your usual medications as before the procedure. You may be discharged home on aspirin and a statin if you were not already taking these. The statin is a drug to help reduce your blood cholesterol level.

If you are a smoker, you must make a concerted effort not to smoke again after your angioplasty. Continuing to smoke doubles the chance of the artery re-occluding (blocking) and could cause other arteries to narrow and block as well.

What do I do if feel unwell at home?
If you develop any problems such as pain or swelling in your groin as mentioned in the ”wound section” of this leaflet and it is within normal surgery hours contact your GP for advice. If it is out of surgery hours contact your local out of hours doctors service. (the number is usually available from your surgery on an answer phone message). If you develop a sudden pain or numbness in the leg, which does not get better within a few hours or if you experience any swelling in your calves, shortness of breath or pains in your chest, you must seek medical attention at your local hospital casualty department.

Follow up
Your angioplasty films will be reviewed in a multidisciplinary meeting by a group of consultant radiologists and vascular consultants, who will look at the films to observe the results of the procedure. If you are a patient of Mr Wilson and your angioplasty was undertaken to improve the arterial blood supply because you experienced cramp in your legs with walking, you will be followed up in the vascular assessment unit at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital where the vascular nurses will assess your progress. If the angioplasty was undertaken because you have a leg ulcer you will be sent an appointment to attend the main vascular outpatient clinic. Patients under the care of Mr Insall will be sent an appointment for review in his vascular outpatient clinic.


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