The angioplasty procedure

Coronary angioplasty aims to widen narrowed blood vessels, to help increase the flow of blood to the heart. This decreases the risk of a heart attack, reduces the symptoms of angina, and slows the progress of coronary artery disease.

Find out more about coronary angioplasty


Explain My Procedure: video animation to help guide you through your procedure 

Explain My Procedure uses video animation to help patients understand what their recommended cardiac procedure will involve, the associated risks and benefits, and possible alternatives. You can view this simple video animation on the Explain My Procedure platform to help you understand what coronary angioplasty will involve, the associated risks and benefits, and possible alternatives. To find out more about Explain My Procedure, click here

Before the procedure

Find out what happens before you have the angioplasty procedure:

Coming into hospital

Learn more about what to expect when you come in for an angioplasty:

During the procedure

Find out more about what happens during the angioplasty procedure:

Find out more about the risks of the angioplasty procedure.

What happens after your angioplasty procedure? Find out more:

After the procedure

There are a number of things we would recommend you do following the angioplasty procedure, this include:

Getting someone to stay with you

Patients going home after angioplasty should have a responsible adult with them, ideally for the following 24-hours. 

Looking after yourself

Your nurse will check your wound before you leave the hospital. For a few days after your procedure, please check your wound for any signs of excessive bruising, inflammation or swelling. If you see any of these, or if you are concerned, please call the ward using the contact numbers opposite. We may ask you to return to the ward so that we can look at your wound. It is important that you keep the wound clean and dry. Avoid using perfume, cream or talcum powder on or around the wound for at least a week. Please do not have a bath for at least 24 hours after your procedure. This may slow the healing process or cause the wound to bleed. However, it is fine to have a shower. If your wound starts to bleed, sit down and press firmly on it for 10 minutes. Once the bleeding has stopped, apply a plaster to the wound and leave it on for 24 hours. If it continues to bleed, please call your GP or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department.

Drinking water

We recommend that you drink one and a half litres of fluid in the first few hours after your angioplasty. This will help your body to get rid of the dye used during the procedure. 

Not driving

It's important that you don't drive for at least a week after your angioplasty - this is a DVLA regulation. You should inform your insurance company that you have had an angiopplasty and stent procedure, but you don't need to inform the DVLA. If you have any questions about driving after your procedure, ask a member of the nursing team. 


Please rest for a few days after your angioplasty. During the first two weeks, avoid lifting objects or doing any activities that could make you tired. If the procedure was carried out through your wrist, do not carry anything heavy in that hand for at least a week. If you were working before you were admitted to hospital, you may return to work one week after your angioplasty. Before you go home, the nursing team will answer any questions you may have about going back to work and other activities. You can also talk to your doctor.

Taking medicine

We will give you antiplatelet (blood-thinning) drugs to take for up to a year after your angioplasty. It is important that you also take aspirin, which is usually continued for the rest of your life. These medicines help to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the stent. This can happen if you stop taking these medicines too early. Please contact us if anyone advises you to stop taking them before the end of the period that we recommended to you. Before you go home, we will give you an antiplatelet card that tells you how long you need to take the antiplatelet drugs for. Please carry this with you at all times and show it to any healthcare professional looking after you.

Angina (chest pain)

It is possible that you may still experience some angina after your procedure. If you have any chest pain, please stop what you are doing and rest. If you normally use a GTN spray or take GTN tablets (nitrate spray/tablets used to relieve angina), and the pain does not go away with rest, take one spray or tablet. If you can still feel the pain after five minutes, repeat this and wait another five minutes. If the pain has still not gone away after 15 minutes, you should dial 999 immediately. If you experience a gradual return of your chest pain in the weeks after your procedure, please see your GP.