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Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) (cont.)

How do patients recover after percutaneous coronary intervention?

Patients usually recover well after percutaneous coronary intervention. They are monitored and observed after the procedure. About 4–12 hours later, any catheter equipment still in the skin and artery are removed and pressure is held by hand or by clamps or "sandbags" for about 20 minutes to prevent bleeding into the catheter insertion site. Alternatively, some patients may have the artery sutured shut where the catheter was placed. Blood clots can form at the PCI site that may cause blockage. Patients are treated with blood thinning anti-platelet agents such as clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix) and aspirin. Most patients will be taking anti-platelet medication indefinitely. Patients are often discharged within 24 hours after percutaneous coronary intervention and are cautioned not to do any vigorous activity or lift over about 20 lbs for about one to two weeks. Some patients may be referred to a rehabilitation center, but most patients are not, and can go back to work (if work is not physically intensive) in about three days after percutaneous coronary intervention.

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