Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Peripheral Artery Angioplasty: What to Expect at Home

Main Content

Peripheral Artery Angioplasty: What to Expect at Home

Your Recovery

Peripheral artery angioplasty (say "puh-RIFF-er-rull AR-ter-ree ANN-jee-oh-plass-tee") is a procedure that widens narrowed arteries in the pelvis or legs. Your doctor used a tube called a catheter to find narrowed arteries in your pelvis or legs and then widened them.

Your groin or leg may have a bruise or a small lump where the catheter was put in your groin. The area may feel sore for a few days after the procedure. You can do light activities around the house but nothing strenuous for several days.

After surgery, blood may flow better throughout your leg. This can decrease leg pain, numbness, and cramping.

You will likely have regular checkups with your doctor to check your arteries.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

If you have no problems after the procedure, you can go home and rest for the day. Have a responsible adult take you home (do not drive yourself). If you live out of town, it’s a good idea to stay somewhere overnight within 1 hour of where the procedure was done. Don’t drive for the next 24 to 48 hours or while you’re taking strong pain medicine.


  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • The first 24 hours after your procedure: Do not drive or operate equipment. You can walk around the house and do light activity, such as cooking.
  • Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation. If you feel unsteady, have someone walk with you.
  • Do not do strenuous exercise or hard activity for at least 1 to 2 weeks or until your doctor says this is okay.
  • If the catheter was in your groin: Do not lift any heavy objects (more than 4.5 kg or 10 lb.) for 3 days after your procedure. Avoid using stairs where possible for a couple days. Take 1 step at a time and always lead with the leg that did not have the catheter.
  • If the catheter was in your wrist or arm: Do not lift any heavy objects (more than 2.5 kg or 5 lb.) for 3 days after your procedure. Do not bend your wrist deeply. Be careful when using your wrist and hand to get into and out of a chair or bed. Avoid having your blood pressure checked or an intravenous (I.V.) started on the arm used during the procedure for 24 hours.


  • You can eat your normal diet.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).


  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Your doctor may prescribe a blood thinner when you go home. This helps prevent blood clots. Be sure you get instructions about how to take your medicine safely. Blood thinners can cause serious bleeding problems.

Care of the procedure site

    • You will have a dressing over the incision (the cut the doctor made). A dressing helps the incision heal and protects it.
    • You may have a closure device to help seal the incision. This will help reduce your time on bedrest after the procedure.
    • After 24 hours, if your doctor says it is okay, you may remove the dressing and take a shower. Pat the incision dry. Avoid creams, lotions, and ointments on the procedure site. Put on a new dressing every day until the incision is healed.
    • Do not soak the procedure site in a bath, hot tub, or swimming pool until it is completely healed (no longer has a scab).
    • Watch for bleeding from the site. A small amount of blood (up to the size of a quarter) on the bandage can be normal.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

If you start bleeding more than is normal or have a fast-growing, painful lump at the procedure site, call 911 and do the following:

  1. Lie down and call for help (family or friend).
  2. Apply pressure using your fingers or fist at the procedure site. Hold this pressure for 20 minutes.
  3. If the bleeding stops—lie still, keep flat until emergency help arrives.
  4. If the bleeding does not stop—keep firm pressure to the procedure site until emergency help arrives.

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • Your groin is very swollen and you have a lump that is getting bigger under your skin where the catheter was put in.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe pain in your leg, or it becomes cold, pale, blue, tingly, or numb.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness of the skin.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter B505 in the search box to learn more about "Peripheral Artery Angioplasty: What to Expect at Home".

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.