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British Heart Foundation
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Is angioplasty painful ?

Hi there I am to have angioplasty in a couple of weeks and would like to know truthfully is it very painful. I was diagnosed with PV JAK2+ about 8 weeks ago ( blood cancer) I had a clot in my little toe, so had to see vascular doc, had CT scan never got called back to discuss it, just a letter dropped through my door this morning. I am still reeling from my PV diagnoisis now this I am freaking out.

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I think it can vary.

My Angio + stent was about as uncomfortable as non painful dental work (that's about the nearest I can get to it). Some tugging and pulling in my arm which came up really bruised but which was more uncomfortable than painful and a sensation when the die was released. But nothing too bad and I'd go through it again if I needed to.. and to be honest I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to medical treatment. They give a sedative and I wish I'd asked for more sooner. By the time I asked for more it was all over.

Good luck. I'm sure the Angio will be fine

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Hi

Dont worry at all.

Believe me it is not painful...of course the usual insertion of the catater in the artery in your arm is similar to giving blood or having a blood test. I had four stents inserted..you get a strange sensation for 30 seconds when the stent is

inserted in place in the artery. ..they warn you . So nothing at all to worry about .best of luck to you..please dont stress

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Like the other poster .. I am a bit of a scaredy-cat. I have since had two angiograms and stents fitted. Yes I was nervous, but asked for more sedative when I felt it was wearing off and subsequently sailed through .. even watching the screen and trying to chat to the Cardiologist! Wishing you all the best and it will be over before you know it x

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I’ve had 3, because I love them 😍. And apart from a sharp scratch on the wrist (equivalent to drawing blood) I can honestly say I’ve never felt a thing.

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😍love your reply 😅😅😅

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Mine was fine too, don't worry.

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I think I am having it in the groin area, thankyou all for your replies x

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Ask fro wrist if you get the option- it's much less restrictive

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Yes wrist is less invasive and it won't stop you from walking afterwards Chez x

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I don't think I have an option as its my leg viens that are narrowing

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Groin it will be than. Try not to worry Chez please, as i have a 13 cm blockage in my femoural artery, but wasn't offered surgery yet. It happened after my second Heart Angioplasty and developed pain in my calf. Walking up hillwas painful for a while but it is getting better.

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The worst bit about having it through the groin is the having to lie still afterwards. Yes you may feel something but it is only minor. If you are up for it then ask to see the screen so you can watch it as it happens - helps take your mind off things.

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Thankyou for being honest x

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I've had a few the first being over 20 years ago. I've always used the theory that the Benefits outweigh the Risks. Like any procedure it does carry risks but this is something they have to tell you nowadays but they are small and very rarely happen.

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Yes I agree. I have had 2 and the one through the groin wasn’t painful at all, until I had to lie completely flat for 4 hours afterwards. My back was killing me. I actually crying with the pain of that but not the angioplasty! They give a local anaesthetic which obviously means no pain but I didn’t have any sedative on either occasion. They were both performed in Switzerland so maybe that’s why there are slight differences. I am going for a CT scan next month and I know will be having yet another angioplasty but this time in the UK.

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Only 4 hours... 11 hours for me as they couldn’t get my blood to clot. That stupid tennis ball thing was a nightmare

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Oh I thought that was an instrument of modern torture!

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I have had two. First was angioplasty to left leg via the groin and second coronary angiogram via the wrist. Slightly felt prick from local in both cases and strange warming sensation from dye. I didn't have a sedative in both cases as previous experience with fracture did nothing but give me a headache. More interesting watching the screen and talking with consultant about findings!

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Hi Michael, i found the sedative gave me headache after my 2. Stent procedure. Wished I didnt have it. It made me sleepy as well.

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I've had two both via the wrist. I didn't feel any pain. I had the choice of wrist or groin but did not fancy not being able to move, with the wrist I was back to my room and up and about within a couple of hours.

First one was an emergency and I was on the table nearly three hours and the discomfort I had was an aching back and a numb bum. I had quite a bit of sedative and felt like I was floating on a cloud, great stuff. The 2nd was pre-planned, on the table an hour and no discomfort at all. I look back and laugh as beforehand I was really fretting about what would happen if I needed the loo!!

The most uncomfortable part for me was the pressure bracelet, I found that quite uncomfortable, a bit like having a very tight elastic band on your wrist. Lots of bruising afterwards but no pain. Both times the next day I was out and about.

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Had mine as an emergency. The procedure was painless in that the wrist was the entry point. Of course I had pain in my chest that was why I was there. Meds were given to alleviate any discomfort and they talk you through the whole procedure and check on you constantly. The team have the concern for you like that of a mother. I would say if it hurt like hell I wouldn’t have minded, it saved my life. I have nothing but praise for the skill, knowledge and concern of all those treating me. Chez1947 you’ll be ok don’t worry , by the way we have the same year of birth too. You don’t need luck you’ll be alright. Let us know of your experience. It’s always a source of encouragement.

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Hi Candlewax you you was out there in the 60's too lol I was all eyelashes and mini skirts, thanks for putting my mind at rest.x

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Hahaha, no mini skirts for me I was in flared trousers. Who would have thought back then that Cilla Blacks “anyone who had a heart” would be our signature tune 😜😊🎶

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Off for mine this morning.

Been awake for hours....must be excitement lol

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Good luck for today Urssy 👍🏻

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Thank you !!!!

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Good luck Urssy, let us know how it went

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Good Luck Urssy let me know how is went, ( honestly) x

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Good Luck Urssy and Chez1947.

If it helps:-

I had an angiogram last Tuesday via the wrist - I was apprehensive, but it was fine, and defintiely nowhere near as bad as my imagination had cooked up - the staff were fantastic (they do it day in day out so are super professional) and will talk you through the whole thing.

Don't be afraid to ask for sedation if you're nervous - I asked them to be as generous as they could be with it !

You can watch the whole thing on the monitors that they use to guide the procedure - quite interesting if that's your thing.

You may feel odd sensation as they inser/move the catheter - for me this was more uncomfortable than painful. As others have said, it's not unusual to have some bruising and tenderness at the entry point in the days afterwards

Best of luck to you - I'm sure you'll both be fine.

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Good luck urssy

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Good luck Urssy

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Hi

I was treated as a 'hot' patient after several heart attacks overnight. As others have said the worst bit is the scratch on the arm after that it was plain sailing and the relaxant they inject into you was fab, I'd have liked some of that for other times when I needed it :)

The worst part for me was the inflatable cuff I had to wear on my wrist for a couple of days, was very annoying , irritating and uncomfortable. Best thing about having cut on wrist rather than groin is that you have mobility straight away and cut scar is less than a couple of millimeters.

whatever option you chose you'll be in very capable hands and well looked after.

Good luck with your recovery

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I guess my experience was not the norm as my angioplasty and stenting was very painful. I experienced crushing chest and upper back pain while they were inserting the stents. Actually had to have morphine as my BP was all over the place due to the pain. Staff were very understanding and I wish I had been able to watch the procedure. An incredible team of clinicians.

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Hi Chez I can honestly say that angioplasty was not painful or uncomfortable at all . Before you know it it is done truly amazing medical technology.I had it done in 2017 and was really impressed with the whole procedure.

Chez you will be fine nothing to worry about.

Good luck

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Rushed in after heart attack ,3 stents fitted, didn't feel a thing 😁 sat up eating my lunch 45 mins after procedure ,back home 2 days later 👍

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Totally honest reply- No, not at all. The only thing i felt was the canula into my hand. I was sedated lightly for the procedure and watched it on the monitors. Felt nothing at all. The first one left me with massive bruising up my lower arm but the second one I didn't even have a pin prick mark. They leave a compression bandage on your wrist where the canula goes in and gradually release the pressure until any possible bleeding has stopped. Once they have done it you get a nice cup of tea and toast.

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3 to date – 1st was with stent through the right groin and I felt some angina pain and aching in my jaw and teeth, came out in a nice bruise on my leg. – 2nd was an emergency following a heart attack and was another stent through my right wrist, the only sensation I recall was a strange feeling through my shoulder – 3rd was exploratory and again through my right wrist and I don’t really recall any sensations.

To be honest any pain I experienced is no worse than going to the dentist.

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Must admit my dentist wonders why I am so nervous in her surgery considering all the Cardio procedures I have had.

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I had a tooth abscess soon after my heart attack, I know which one won in the pain stakes!

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The first time I was having angioplasty I had 5 stents fitted to arteries in the heart. You are told to say if you feel uncomfortable and halfway through my angina kicked in. 2 shots of morphine and, within a few minutes, I was fine again .

The second time I was in for a single stent and I never felt a thing.

Just remember that a short amount of discomfort (if there is any) is worth the outcome. Two years on from my stent and I feel fine (just hope that isn't tempting fate.)

Good luck, but you wont need it.

Posted this comment before but when they say they are taking you down ask to go to the toilet. If they go in through the groin you will not be allowed up, not even sit up, for a few hours. Trying to wee into a small pot while lying on your back ain't easy!

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My angio and stent insertion were painful but, I did have some medicines to relax me.

I think if you ask for pain relief , it can be given intravenously as well as the relaxants.

I was in good hands and Thank the staff for what they did. It was necessary and I was grateful.

Mine was done in Kettering hospital.

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I’ve had 3 & other than a tugging sensation in groin th actual procedure is totally painless , just warm sensation from dye.

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Hi Chez,

I had angiogram March 2011. Entry site was right femoral artery. At the time the only pain felt was slight scratch when given local anaesthetic. Discovered restriction in LAD and decided to fit stent immediately. Afterwards the nurse had to apply pressure to the entry site for quite a long time leaving three finger shaped bruises. No pain to speak of just slight discomfort. In the week following the procedure a lump about the size of a golf ball developed on my leg. GP examined it and reassured me it was nothing to worry about and sure enough it disappeared. I was fairly tired in weeks following angioplasty so not all that mobile. Any discomfort was easier to handle as I was taking extra rest and didn’t need to keep moving.

Hope al goes well but it really is straightforward.

Henry

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No its not painful darling. I had 3 stents put in so you bw okay. Just felt tired afterwards. Please don't panic Chez 😊

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Hi chez no it’s not painful slight scratch pressure band uncomfortable but not painful

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Hi Chez. I'm not going to lie, yes it hurt like hell. I was promised local anesthetic and sedation and I got neither !

They went through my radial wrist and I nearly hit the ceiling, I begged for sedation but no they didn't oblige me. I would rather have my wisdom teeth taken out compared to what I went through. They were pushing and pulling my arm which was left totally bruised, right up to the elbow !

And then after 60 mins. they told me, that it couldn't be done and I would need a quadruple bypass . . . Holy shite - all that pain and for nothing.

All I can say is make sure you take as much pain relief and sedation that you can. Good luck.

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I had a similar experience to you. No sedation and one stent took nearly two hours (through wrist). It was the most painful experience of my life. The cardiologist told me I had very narrow veins/arteries. I am very grateful, because if they hadn't been able to finish the procedure it would have been a bypass for me, which was avoided. I was in shock for a couple of days after; I can't believe the team would do a procedure without anaesthetic. If there's a next time I'll be asking for as much pain relief as possible!

Chez, I don't want to scare you, but just be aware that it can be painful. I thought I would breeze through the procedure - I hadn't felt ill beforehand, my heart condition was found almost by accident, I'm healthy, I'd been told the procedure was painless. I wish I'd been prepared that for some people it can hurt. The cardiologist and team were fantastic, very caring and their skill is amazing; I had the stent fitted last October and have had no problems since. Those 2 hours of pain now seem very worthwhile; and I didn't have to have major surgery. I hope you are one of the lucky ones who feel nothing - but you will be in really good hands anyway, and your surgical team will look after you very well.

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Thank you all for asking how it went.

I didnt have the best experience and felt quite a lot of pain.

Had the wrist done...then they lost flow so they had to quickly get me ready for groin.

Unfortunately l Still feel traumatised by pain and procedure.

Wasnt offered any pain relief infact anything even though I was clearly in pain and having to apologise over and over for yelping as they pushed.

Good news is they say all looked good...so it's off to the gym for me to get healthy!

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I'd like to say the other 3 people on the ward with me, who all had wrist angiograms didnt seem to have any pain. In fact were ok.

Maybe some people do and others dont?

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Urssy

Those of us with microvascular and vasospastic angina often feel pain during an angiogram because the coronary arteries spasm. It is often how vasospastic angina is diagnosed.

I had chest pain, ST elevations and coronary artery spasms during my angiograms. I was given morphine.

I am not surprised you feel traumatised! You should have been offered pain relief or sedation.

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Thank you milk fairy.

I'm feeling quite overwhelmed.

Plus because heart looked good I dont know why I'm getting angina.

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Perhaps because your small blood vessels or coronary arteries are going into spasm?

Have a look at this animation from the BHF about angina . I hope it helps you to understand what maybe happening.

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Mate... don’t panic

Firstly ensure you get the large helping of diazepam which they gave me before they started.

I’d say the pushing the cable in is the most uncomfortable part, I wouldn’t say it’s painful at all, it’s uncomfortable for sure, and for me on my first right side stent I didn’t feel anything other than the release of the drug that dilates the vessels as that makes you feel flush.

When they did my left side a few days later I felt that one, again not painful but I suspect it was the wise that caused my initial pain as the feeling I got was similar to the pain from the angina.

Lay back.. enjoy the marvel of modern medical tech and people

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For those of us with microvascular or vasospastic angina an angiogram can cause spasms in the coronary blood vessels.

I had coronary artery spasms during both of my angiograms which was very painful but they gave me some morphine.

The worst part was because they used my groin I couldn't sit up for 8 hours.

It is absolutely impossible to have a pee flat on your back on a bed pan.

I had to hold on until I was able to get up to go for a pee- nothing like sitting up right on porcelain.

Make sure you go to the toilet before you go to the cath lab!

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I was beginning to feel like the only one who felt pain. Injection and insertion no problem, then halfway through (after I had been gritting my teeth, trying to get through) i had to tell them I was in bad pain in my arm, they stopped and gave me morphine, and were able to finish the procedure, but it was still painful. Afterwards I was told the pain was caused when my artery went into spasm. I think most people are ok, and don't get the pain I experienced.

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I'd say very uncomfortable, rather than painful. I've had an angioplasty followed by a plain angiogram, and I wouldn't say the first was any worse than the second.

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I’ll second that about the toilet Milkfairy. I’m sure someone must be able to invent a better bedpan than the ones I was offered. I was on the table for 2 hours because they had 2 power cuts during my procedure. I was bursting. In the end they told me just to “go” on the bed. Easier said than done 🤣

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I had two stents inserted 6 weeks ago, I can honestly say that it was a painless procedure - you feel a slight scratch on the wrist when the catheter is inserted which is no worse than having a blood test. I did feel a slight sensation which lasts about 30 seconds when the stent is being expanded but it is certainly nothing to worry about, I actually think dental treatment is a much worse experience. I hope that having read the replies to your post that you will feel less worried. I wish you all the best.

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Hi, I had an angioplasty three weeks ago following two heart attacks, a stent was fitted to open the artery. I was very nervous, apprehensive and scared prior to the procedure but the staff were reassuring and explained what was going to happen. They went into my radial artery, local anesthetic in first, after that it was OK, much better than I thought, just a little discomfort when the stent went in but lasted only a few seconds. The bruising I had was impressive and a talking point with the family. To see your heart being fixed as you lay there is amazing! Try to relax, think of getting well, and it will soon be over. Will be thinking of you, good luck.

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Hi. I've had angioplasty twice and angiogram 3 times. I never found it painfull, just a strange feeling as the tube goes through the elbow region and when the stent released. The most sore bit is just the local anaesthetic injection slight sting but goes quickly. I was given mild sedation. Let me them know if you are very anxious and afraid of pain. . You will be well cared for. If you feel any discomfort at all let them know. You should feel better after if there was narrowing. I'm in uk. Good luck and I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

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, it’s the tugging and pulling , and the arm position that makes it so uncomfortable ,but interesting as I could see the screen, lucky for me I didn’t need a stent.....but the bruise after was huge ,on my arm ,is it going up your arm or though your groin..? ,but not painful,but then again I bruise easily, and have thin arms 😊

You will be fine...👍 xx

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