Chest Pain after Angioplasty with Stent: Why it Happens and How it is Treated

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About Angioplasty and Stents

To understand more about chest pain after angioplasty with stent, it can help to understand a little more about angioplasty and stent placement.

A coronary angioplasty is also referred to as PCI or percutaneous coronary intervention. It is performed in order to open up heart arteries that are clogged. This procedure may be accompanied by the placement of a stent to help keep the artery open. A stent is a small metal coil that may or may not be treated with a coating of medication to aid in the function of the stent.

An article in the Health section of the New York Times reports that “Complications occur in about 10% of patients (about 80% of them happening within the first day). Success rates are better in hospital settings with experienced teams and backup.” The article goes on to state that “stenting and other advances have helped significantly in preventing reclosure and reducing heart attack rates. Nevertheless, a repeat procedure is still needed to restore the opening in 10 - 15% of procedures that use stents.”

Post-Operative Chest Pain

Chest pain following angioplasty is common and may be caused by a number of things. When the use of a stent is included in the angioplasty surgery, the odds for experiencing chest pain increases.

Some of the causes of post-operative chest pain include normal post-operative pain, ischemia and restenosis.

Ischemia Following Angioplasty with Stent

Ischemia is the condition in which the blood supply become restricted, usually due to blood vessels being blocked or having some other problem that inhibits blood flow.

When ischemia occurs after angioplasty, it may be called “silent ischemia”. One of the ways ischemia is treated is with angioplasty with the placement of a stent. When ischemia follows angioplasty with stent placement, the procedure may be performed again.

Restenosis Following Angioplasty with Stent

Restenosis is the name given to the condition in which the artery treated with angioplasty begins to close. This can happen even when a stent is in place. Restenosis can cause chest pain in the patient when the patient exerts himself or herself.

The treatment for restenosis is usually a repeat surgery.

If the chest pain increases or is at the site of the procedure, the doctor should be contacted immediately.


When chest pain after angioplasty with stent occurs, it may be nothing more than normal pain from the procedure, but it may be an indicator of something more serious, such as the treated artery closing up again. If chest pain is experienced after angioplasty with stent placement, the treating physician should be contacted in order to determine whether it is due to recovery or something else.


Coronary Angioplasty and Stents. Mayo Clinic Staff. December 17, 2008.

Coronary Heart Disease: Angioplasty and Stents. Health section. New York Times. Reviewed by Larry A. Weinrach, MD. September 3, 2008.