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SAAOL Heart Center / TNN / Updated: Feb 03, 2024

Understing heart health after stent placements

A stent is a small metal tube inserted into the large neck artery to keep it open after blockage. Following stent implantation, patients may experience unexpected symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath. It's crucial to comprehend the potential causes, symptoms, and appropriate measures for these concerns. According to Dr. Bimal, here are valuable insights into post-stent symptoms along with effective management.

1. Common Causes & Symptoms of Breath After Stent Implant:

It's common for people with a stent implanted to experience shortness of breath after the procedure. Several things can cause this problem
• Stenosis: The stent's small opening may get lodged in smaller blood vessels, causing shortness of breath.
• Pulmonary Embolism: A blood clot blocking a lung artery can lead to restricted blood flow and respiratory distress.
• Airway Narrowing: Scar tissue or chronic conditions may cause a narrowed airway, contributing to breathing difficulties.
• Heart Failure: Post-stent implantation, heart failure can be a potential cause of shortness of breath.

2. Chest Pain After Stent Implant:

After PTCA procedure the stent may be closed within 48 hours. So after 48 hours stent pain starts.
• Symptoms of chest pain after a Stent Implant:
• Sharp
• Localized
• Fleeting
• Continuous pain
• Pin point pain
• Activity
• Location of pain:
• The middle or left side of the chest
• Can usually pinpoint the spot where it hurts

3. Symptoms of Shortness of Breath after a Stent Implant

Shortness of breath post-stent implantation often signals underlying issues. Key symptoms to monitor include:
• Fatigue during Light Activity: Persistent tiredness, especially with minimal physical exertion, may indicate potential complications with the stent or treated vessel.
• Chest Pain with Movement: Experiencing chest discomfort that worsens when lying down or taking deep breaths could be a sign of complications related to the stent placement.
• Shallow Breathing and Chest Sensitivity: Shallow breathing accompanied by sensitive chest sensations may suggest respiratory distress linked to the stent procedure.
• Wheezing Sounds: Audible wheezing while breathing might indicate airway or lung involvement, necessitating attention to prevent further complications.
• Coughing with Mucus: A persistent cough with mucus production could be a sign of respiratory issues, potentially associated with the stent or surrounding structures.
• Increased Heart Rate and High Blood Pressure: An elevated heart rate and blood pressure may signify cardiovascular stress, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive evaluation post-stent implantation.
• Swelling in Lower Extremities: Swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs may indicate potential circulatory complications, warranting immediate medical assessment.

4. Potential Causes of Shortness of Breath:

There are several potential causes of shortness of breath after a stent implant, with the most common being:
• Pulmonary Embolism: A blood clot blocking an artery in the lung can lead to decreased oxygen flow, causing shortness of breath. Immediate medical attention is crucial if a pulmonary embolism is suspected.
• Airway Narrowing: Narrowing of the airway, often due to the formation of scar tissue or other chronic conditions, can impede the smooth passage of air, resulting in difficulty breathing.
• Heart Failure: Shortness of breath may also indicate heart failure, where the heart struggles to pump blood effectively. It can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs, causing respiratory distress.

5. Risks of Stent Implant:

Risks of coronary angioplasty with stent placement may include:
• Re-narrowing of the artery (restenosis): This is more likely without a stent, especially if it is not coated with medication.
• Formation of blood clots within stents: This can potentially lead to a heart attack.
• Bleeding, bruising, or infection at the catheter insertion site: These complications may occur during or after the procedure.

6. Post-Stent Shortness of Breath and Chest Pain Treatment

• Rest and Activity: Ensure ample rest and avoid strenuous activities during the initial weeks after the stent implantation.
• Dietary Guidelines: Adopt a healthy diet of antioxidants and fiber to promote overall heart health.
• Regular Exercise: Regular exercise enhances blood circulation and alleviates inflammation. However, consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen.
• Avoid Smoking and Alcohol: Steer clear of smoking and limit alcohol consumption, as these habits can heighten the risk of additional artery blockages.
• Stress Management: Implement stress-reducing techniques such as daily meditation or participation in yoga classes.


Understanding and addressing post-stent symptoms are vital for a seamless recovery. Recognizing potential causes and adopting appropriate lifestyle changes empower patients to contribute actively to their heart health after stent implantation. It is imperative to seek guidance from your healthcare provider, especially by consulting specialists at the renowned SAAOL Heart Center. This ensures you receive personalized advice and expert management for these symptoms, fostering a comprehensive and tailored approach to your post-stent recovery journey.

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