Post-stent chest pain

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters 

A friend’s daughter (who happens to be a cardiac nurse) phoned to check on me a few days after I was discharged from the hospital following my heart attack. I felt so relieved to hear Kate’s voice because  something was really starting to worry me:  I was still having chest pain.

Hadn’t the blocked coronary artery that had caused my “widow maker” heart attack just recently been magically unblocked? Wasn’t that newly revascularized artery now propped wide open with a shiny metal stent? Shouldn’t I be feeling better?

And that’s when I heard the words “stretch pain”  for the first time.    .       . 

She explained to me exactly what I would later learn more about from cardiac researchers in Germany: moststretch pain” symptoms are due to the dilation and stretching of a coronary artery that’s caused when a coronary stent is being implanted inside that artery.(1)  And for the majority of heart patients, she added, stretch pain is not a danger sign.

But if you’re like me, you may still be concerned, after your stent has been newly implanted, to find that the chest pain that sent you to the hospital in the first place is still happening.

At the time, I could find no information about chest pain AFTER a stent procedure in any of the patient education material I was given before I was discharged from the CCU (the Intensive Care Unit for heart patients).

But now I was learning that this new chest pain might be BECAUSE of a stent procedure.

The German researchers agreed that post-stent chest pain is likely not a reason for us to panic. But they did acknowledge:

“This is a common problem. Although the development of chest pain after coronary interventions may be benign, it is disturbing to patients, relatives and hospital staff.”

Disturbing? No kidding. . . 

New chest pain is very disturbing to a person who has just survived a heart attack.

In the German study, researchers found that stretch pain can be experienced after different types of cardiac interventions:

  • about 40 per cent of the patients they studied developed chest pain after having a coronary stent implanted (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, or PCI)
  • 12 per cent developed chest pain after balloon angioplasty
  • 9 per cent developed chest pain after diagnostic angiography

As cardiologist Dr. Allen Jeremias explained in his book, Your Personal Guide to Angioplasty:

“The air pressure in your fully inflated car tires is about 2 atmospheres. By comparison, the high pressure used to inflate a balloon inside a coronary artery during angioplasty is between 10-20 atmospheres.”

Researchers suggest that chest pain in recently stented patients can be associated with continuous stretching of the treated coronary artery during an invasive procedure, which they described like this in the journal, Circulation:(2)

“Non-ischemic chest pain develops in almost half of all patients undergoing stent implantation, and seems to be related to blood vessel over-expansion caused by the stent inside the diseased vessel.”

U.K. sources add that it’s common to experience this new chest discomfort in the first few days and weeks following a stent procedure.

“This is because your artery has suffered some trauma and bruising from the stent being fitted. You can have episodes of pain or discomfort as the stent settles into place. This pain is usually felt quite locally in the chest, and is often described as sharp or stabbing. This type of pain can often be relieved by taking acetaminophen (Tylenol).”

Symptoms have been generally described by patients as mild or moderate, and also “unlike the pain of angina” that they had experienced before they came into the hospital for treatment. Three-quarters of patients with this pain described it as “continuous, squeezing pain located deep in the chest.” 

What if stretch pain continues or gets worse?

Stretch pain is typically a short-term issue while we are recuperating.  But sometimes, it is not just short-term.

The Journal of the American Heart Association reported that about one third of heart attack patients studied were still reporting occasional chest pain at six weeks or longer.(3)  These symptoms happened infrequently – about 80 per cent experienced symptoms once a month on average, but of the remaining 20 per cent, chest pain was happening weekly or even daily.

This kind of chest pain may not be just your average stretch pain.

If chest pain persists or worsens over weeks, it may indicate another cardiac issue that must be checked out. In a 2018 U.K. study, researchers turned the cardiology world on its ear by suggesting that stents may not address chest pain as we have always believed – especially for patients who have not had a heart attack.(4)  Coronary artery disease (CAD) typically affects many blood vessels, and so stenting only the largest blockage may not make much difference in a patient’s symptoms. As the New York Times described the findings of this study:

A few arteries might be blocked today, and then reopened with stents. But tomorrow a blockage might arise in another artery, and cause a heart attack.”

Always consult your own physician for ongoing or new chest pain, or any distressing symptoms that simply do not feel right to you.  See also: ISCHEMIA Study: That Blockage Isn’t A Time Bomb In Your Chest   about the controversial 2019 research that suggested stents or coronary bypass surgery are no more effective – except during a heart attack – than providing optimal medical/drug therapy; as I noted at the time, however, fewer than 1/4 of the ISCHEMIA study participants were women. Until women are appropriately represented, researchers will continue to study (white, middle-aged) men whose experience may or may not be comparable to our experiences.

But meanwhile, my own question on stretch pain is still this: 

”   “If stretch pain caused by having a stent implanted is as common as cardiac researchers seem to suggest, why aren’t heart patients like me warned about this before hospital discharge so we don’t need to panic during recovery?”

1.  Chao-Chien Chang et al. “Chest pain after percutaneous coronary intervention in patients with stable angina”. Clin Interv Aging. 2016; 11: 1123–1128.
2. Jeremias, A. et al. “Nonischemic Chest Pain Induced by Coronary Interventions: A Prospective Study Comparing Coronary Angioplasty and Stent Implantation”. Circulation. December 1998: 2656–265.
3. Fanaroff, A. et al. “Management of Persistent Angina After Myocardial Infarction Treated With Percutaneous Coronary Intervention: Insights From the TRANSLATE‐ACS Study”;  Journal of the American Heart Asssociation.
4. Rasha Al-Lamee et al. “Percutaneous Coronary Intervention in Stable Angina (ORBITA): a Double-Blind, Randomised Controlled Trial”. The Lancet, Volume 391, ISSUE 10115, P31-40, January 06, 2018.

NOTE FROM CAROLYN:  In my book, A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press), I wrote much more about chest pain and other (common and uncommon) cardiac symptoms. You can ask for this book at your local library or bookshop (please support your favourite independent family-owned shop!) or order it online (paperback, hardcover or e-book) at Amazon, or order it directly from Johns Hopkins University Press. Use their code HTWN to save 30% off the list price when you order.

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Q:  Have you ever experienced stretch pain after a cardiac procedure?

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Please do not leave a comment here asking me about your current symptoms. I  am not a physician and cannot offer you medical advice. Always see a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing distressing symptoms.

224 thoughts on “Post-stent chest pain

  1. Thank you for addressing this. I had a stent placed in my left coronary artery, 90% blocked, Type 1 Diabetes, 43yrs 57.

    I feel worse now than before getting the stent. I feel it wasn’t long enough 2cm x 15mm. Can feel sharp pain of meshed metal stretching when I move. Will wait a few weeks to go back to my MD. Just the weight on my chest is 25lbs or more. Subclavian & carotid must be blocked too. My head is hurting. When I stand, so dizzy I have to sit before I fall. Can’t walk very far. Can’t eat very much, heart work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Darla – I suggest you make an appointment to see your doctor rather than waiting a few weeks. I’m not a physician so cannot comment specifically on your case, but it seems to me that you’d want to find out if there is another reason for your discomfort sooner rather than later.

      You didn’t mention how long ago your stent was implanted – it’s common to experience chest symptoms while the coronary artery is healing especially in the early days and weeks. Patients can’t really tell by themselves which artery is blocked without diagnostic tests – your doctor can help refer you for those tests if required.

      Good luck to you. . . ♥

      Like

  2. Dear Carolyn,
    I’m new to your blog, but have I got a tale to tell.
    First of all, I got your book from the Victoria, BC library and now have it on order from a quaint little book shop in Cook Street Village. That’s how I found your blog was through your book.
    Thank You!

    Early in June 2022, 6 days short of my 71st birthday I was experiencing unusual chest pressure across the very top of my chest, arm pit to arm pit, with what felt like I needed to burp.
    This went on off and on for 6 days in a row!
    My biggest lesson I needed to deal with was DENIAL!

    My whole attitude was beyond smug, you see I’ve never smoked, drank, messed with drugs.
    Plus I’m a very trim lady with no signs ever of having high blood pressure or any issues with cholesterol. And no diabetes.
    In the month of May 2022, I had a check up by my personal physician and once again I got the thumbs up on how healthy I was!
    So now back to DENIAL:

    On the 6th day of my so called discomfort, I’ve got a meeting to attend at 1:00, but my chest pain is trying to warn me that’s not a good idea to go to that meeting.
    DENIAL says listen just give yourself a little more time reading on your library book, then just get up and go, you’ll feel better once you get out.

    Wrong!
    I’m in the elevator going down to my car but I’m feeling like my body is going down faster then the elevator.

    Oh no!
    So DENIAL says hey, if you see your friend’s car (a nurse that also lives in this building) that’s a sign to just go up and knock on her door. There’s her car, but my next story I told myself was okay, just get in your car and have a seat – which I did, and I broke out in a cold sweat and stopped lying to myself and managed to knock on her door barely

    She takes one look at me and says you are having a heart attack!

    Just the look on her face scared me into believing her. Off we go to the ER just a couple blocks from here and because she was my advocate and guardian (Angel), I was rushed right in!

    DENIAL DENIAL DENIAL does not give up that easily!
    Look at me, I’m your poster person for excellent health, something is wrong here? Why the big fuss?
    Okay, the third doctor comes in to see me and I’m not too sure what he is talking about?

    So I’m thinking okay, just to be nice now, and I said if you are going to keep me, may I go home and get my toothbrush please?

    He just stares at me, and I said I promise I’ll be right back?!

    Finally, he says Lady you are right in the middle of a heart attack which by the way you have been having for 6 days in a row, you are very Lucky to be alive!

    Okay, but what about my toothbrush?
    You can tell I really love my teeth!

    He’s probably wondering by now if he is being punked.
    I’m just giving him my sweetest please look I can muster.

    Next he tosses his hands in the air (now keep in mind he is a very nice young intern) and says okay, you do that and as soon as you step out that door, you will die!

    DENIAL says but you only live a couple of blocks from here?
    Which gave him enough time to come back with No, that’s not a good idea but I can not tell you what you can do!

    Hummmmmmmmmm?

    My next question is, is there a vending machine where I can get a toothbrush?

    Here comes my big reality check. . . the next thing he says to me is “We do not have a medical directive for you for our records – we need to know if you want to be resuscitated should you flat line”?

    That’s it, I snapped out of it so fast that I almost gave myself whiplash!
    DENIAL. . . but look at you girl, you are the perfect picture of heath, plus you are a organic vegetarian!
    My response to him was Hello, Yes, I want to live. I’ve spent my whole life living a healthy lifestyle to finally enjoy this time in my life with a healthy body!
    He leaves with his notes and I’m looking for a kind nurse who will help me find a toothbrush!
    No luck.

    Next chapter:
    3 stents later, and at this time 4 days of lousy food here and I’m weighed and it’s 99 lbs. I’m scared and one nightmare of a doctor who went out of her way to let me know she didn’t like me.

    I hope Karma really does exist!

    I could write a very long article about how she got great joy out of being cruel. Example, while I’m in the ER waiting for a bed upstairs on that first day I asked her for some written information on this heart procedure I’m going to be getting? I don’t have an iPhone or iPad with me.

    She flat out said I don’t have any; they will give it to you upstairs before they take you in for you angiogram.

    What?

    I’m not asking her for my toothbrush!

    I replied But I don’t understand why I’m getting this procedure, do I really need it, is there another noninvasive procedure that could be done, please I need some answers, what’s the name band of the stents and where are they made, plus very important I need to know the name of the dye content because I’m very allergic to must chemicals, I want and need to educate myself?!

    That just made her really mad, after all she thinks she’s God!

    Besides I don’t believe God would ever act like that.

    Her dismissive attitude towards me made me want to just get up and walk out of there, heart attack or no heart attack, where’s my toothbrush?

    Now I’m mad and all my vital signs are off the chart!
    Okay, this is starting to feel like a heart attack!

    The next evening I get a room upstairs and 5 days later I get my 3 stents, then the next day I get to go home for real healthy food!

    Final note maybe:

    I never saw that awful woman doctor again after that first day in the ER, but was told that she would be my main contact for my heart condition follow ups.
    NOT.

    It took a while, but I personally saw to it that in no way was she ever allowed near me again!

    Then:
    The day the doctor came in to discharge me, he went through great detail explaining how I needed to use my nitroglycerin spray, but then forgot to add it to my pharmaceutical list and as he leaves the room, I said to the nurse please catch him before he leaves to add that on my list!
    She didn’t care and took her sweet time, came back in and said he’s gone just call your doctor when you get home and have her call it in.

    What?

    Next, I’m booted out of there and it felt like wham bam thank you ma’am!Figure it out for yourself by the way here’s some written info (what a joke)

    Downstairs while my nurse friend is loading me into her car, I told her about what just happened concerning me trying to get that nitroglycerin spray.

    She hits the ceiling!!!

    To this day I still do not have a cardiologist, no help for rehab and it’s a nightmare because no one has answers for my questions, which I still have a lot of and it’s October, 4 months later.

    But Carolyn Thank You for your book and blog!

    You are the only connection I have for help!

    Please don’t give up on us!

    I’ve gained a lot of insight into that it’s not just me out here by myself. Your story about that doctor being rude to you gave me reassurance that I had done the right thing about refusing to allow that awful woman doctor in the ER to try to take claim to my case and when I finally got all my records from the hospital concerning those 6 days I was there, and in that detailed report Not one word was written about the conversation that awful woman doctor had with me or even that she acknowledged who I was which validated my beliefs about her knowing intentionally what she did to me, but yet thought that by putting her name on the end of that last page she could still dig her talons into me.

    I don’t think so!
    By the way she was not a cardiologist either.
    The cardiologist who did my 3 stents was a very kind and gentle soul! I’ve tried to contact him since he did my angiogram, but to no avail.
    I’m closing with some good news: my neighbor the wonderful nurse who saved my life did make arrangements to get me my toothbrush the next day with some other goodies!

    I’ve learned that at anytime I go to a hospital I must have an Advocate to oversee my needs, very important!

    Plus I’m dealing with stent pains but everyday I place my hand over my blessed heart and apologize for all the pain I put it through and how much I love and appreciate it!

    I’m tiny but mighty with a brave heart ♥️

    Look out for DENIAL!
    And Always carry a travel toothbrush with some travel toothpaste with you, you never know when you’ll end up in the hospital!

    Deepest Gratitude,
    C.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Christa – I must tell you that I found myself laughing out loud (not AT you, but WITH you) while reading your classic examples of denial even in the midst of a heart attack. You’ll already know from reading my book that this kind of denial is very common and very powerful. Your toothbrush focus was a predictable distraction from the reality that was too threatening to comprehend. (Glad your nice neighbour brought you that toothbrush!)

      I had a similar response in Emergency when the cardiologist on call told me “Mrs. Thomas, I can tell from your T-waves and all of your diagnostic tests that you have significant heart disease!” He explained about next possible options for testing and treatment, and that I’d be going upstairs to the cath lab (I had no clue what goes on in a cath lab at the time). I nodded and listened to him as if I were capable of understanding (I saw his lips moving and I heard sounds coming out of his mouth – but I couldn’t comprehend much after “significant heart disease”). I think I may have signed the consent form (every patient before admission must sign a legal consent form).

      So I interrupted him at one point and asked if, while I’m here today, should I make an appointment to come back to the hospital at a later date for these tests and procedures? You can imagine his answer!

      It’s extremely common, especially for heart patients who, like you, are fit and healthy without obvious cardiac risk factors to become very upset by almost everything about the hospital admission process. Even the suggestion that this catastrophic event might actually be happening can infuriate such patients. Instead of being upset at the random unfairness of the diagnosis, they often become upset at the staff, at the food, at the hospital policies, at what people say (or don’t say) – even being told they have to stay overnight in the hospital when they do not WANT to stay there can push some patients right off the deep end. So often it’s misguided anger and fear underneath. That’s the beauty and the danger of DENIAL, even as it warps our perception of what’s going on. I wrote much more on this very common phenomenon here – please read this.

      I’m not a physician, of course, so I cannot comment about your specific experience in the hospital – except that I really liked your lesson learned about bringing an advocate (and a toothbrush!) with you. This is great advice for all medical consultations from now on.

      Thanks for your kind words about my book and this blog. Take care, stay safe, and best of luck to you. ♥

      Like

      1. Dear Carolyn,
        Thank You for your kind response to my email.

        I did read your book in a day and a half. I couldn’t put it down!

        I felt like there was some sort of a secret club out there that I now was a member of. I’m hoping the little bookshop will be able to have your book for me by the end of this week!

        When I read about “Healthy Privilege” in your book, I felt very sad that people could feel that. When I see people with a disability or in pain, I take it to heart! It’s not pity, it is actually real pain! Plus if someone is crying and I don’t even know why, I start crying too!

        So my intentional comment about being beyond “smug” meant that I could be told I was sick with anything else but blocked arteries and I’d say okay, I can see that easily, really.
        But never a heart attack!

        My blockages were big time and those stents run through my heart like a express highway in California! I’m dealing with stent pain but am grateful that my little heart ♥️ got me through it. 🙏
        My next 71 years I’m going to be busy making up for all the pain I put my heart through!

        If we had met in a deli and started talking pre-heart attack and you told me your condition, I’d start crying. And would give you my phone number in case I could ever be of any help.

        By the way when I saw my dental hygienist and told her about my experience in the ER wanting my toothbrush, she said that sounds just like you and next time you are stuck in the hospital call me I will bring you up a toothbrush!

        I get my teeth cleaned 4 times a year, it’s my only luxury.
        I’m told I don’t need to come in so often but my response is please just put up with me, I know you can find something in there!

        Then I remind her if I were a horse with these teeth at my age, I would still fetch a pretty penny 😁

        But Carolyn trust me, I do have other health issues and if one more thing falls off of me, I’m changing my name to Lucky just like that joke about that poor old dog.

        I believe I know why I had hurt my heart, it’s all the very stressful jobs or projects I took on while always being a crusader! I’m like a Chihuahua on steroids!
        But I’d do it all over again, those were Soulful Lessons that went right to the marrow of my SOUL plus my Heart. ♥️

        I enjoy your stories about your grandchildren and your roses 🌹 and how you are taking baby steps to take good care of yourself! Plus all the stories from everyone, are very helpful!
        I’m looking forward to owning your Wonderful Book!
        You’re a Great Inspiration for all of us!
        Thank You!
        My Deepest Gratitude 🙏
        Christa

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Christa – once again, I found myself laughing at your comment – this time at your description of your hygienist’s reaction.

          You ARE a member of a secret club now (many women have told me this!) except it’s a club that none of us ever wanted to join. You may remember reading this in Chapter 4 of my book (here’s a link to “Welcome To Your New Country”. )

          Most heart patients can relate to the late Dr. Jessie Gruman’s comparison of her many health crises with moving to a new country: “I felt like a healthy person who has been accidentally drop-kicked into a foreign country. I don’t know the language, the culture is unfamiliar, I have no idea what is expected of me, I have no map and I desperately want to find my way home. . .”

          As you mention, emerging studies now link chronic stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline with the kind of coronary artery damage that can indeed lead to cardiovascular disease – which is why I think it’s curious that you would now say – despite what you’ve just gone through – that you’d “do it all again”. That’s what Dr. Barbara Keddy of Halifax calls “goodism” (a trait that women, unfortunately, are often praised for). She calls Florence Nightingale, for example, “the poster child of goodism and self-sacrifice” (again, a selfless woman who worked day and night to help the sick – even at the expense of her own needs).

          Here’s a link to this topic in case you’d like to read more (it’s not in the book).

          I’m glad you found my book useful. I wanted to write the book that I had looked for – but couldn’t find – as a freshly-diagnosed heart patient.

          Hang in there – take care and feel better every day. ♥

          Like

          1. Dear Carolyn,
            I know you are very overwhelmed with everyone’s needs.
            I’m shocked at your kindness to respond to any of my emails. 🙏
            As you have probably guessed by now I couldn’t stop crying at your comment about “goodism”, plus the link you sent me concerning the article.

            Thank You 🙏 I did read it and am beginning to wonder even at my age have I been naïve all my life that I can’t comprehend why I think that “goodism” isn’t just a way of life?
            It gives a whole new meaning to Bleeding Heart ♥️

            Maybe I’ve come back this lifetime to the wrong planet?

            My Mother and I were 2 peas in a pod. Any sick or stray animal she would gather up and bring home even when she was a widower from the age of 34 and never dated or remarried again, raising 3 very young children under the age of 6, with very very limited funds.

            She’d see to it that we all got food when she didn’t.

            She died at my age of a brain aneurysm, which has weighed heavily on my heart. ♥️
            So the word “goodism” was never a word to her either, it was a way of life!
            And I am Blessed to be her daughter!

            You are so Very Special to share that information with me, it really helps me to Heal!
            I bet in the dictionary there is a picture of you right by that word, really!

            Once again I do Appreciate you taking the time to respond to my emails!

            Today was my worse day so far trying to manage my heart ♥️ pains, so your return email couldn’t have come at a better time!

            Last quick story about my dental hygienist, just as she was finishing up with me I said “Ok, here’s the plan…..if you should hear that I died, quick get up to the hospital and say…. Wait a minute, check her mouth if her teeth haven’t been brushed she’s not dead yet!”

            Please be Gentle with Yourself🙏

            With Deeply Heartfelt Gratitude ♥️
            Christa

            Like

  3. Dear Carolyn,

    Thank you!!!! I had two stents placed for a NSTEMI (Widow maker) early July 2022. I have been blown away as a 63-year old woman to find out how little information there is to help me walk out this new journey of living as a Post-Heart Attack patient.

    Every doctor and nurse I have had contact with seems to not know anything about dealing with post-stent pain. I have been to the ER twice now in the last two weeks with the same symptoms I had when I had my heart attack – only to be told I am not having a heart attack.

    Nothing about why I am still having pain, or discomfort and taking nitros several times a week, because my cardiologist told me to. What a tragic state of affairs. I find myself so emotional over the lack of care.

    Blessings to you and all who suffer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome, Teresa – I’m not a physician, but I can say generally that it is very likely what you’re experiencing is post-stent chest pain. I too am stunned that – as you can tell from dozens and dozens of other readers’ identical comments here – few doctors and nurses seem to be warning stent patients about this very common and benign post-stent chest pain before they are discharged from hospital. If you had been given basic information before you were sent home in July, you probably wouldn’t be so frightened when this totally unexpected pain starts up.

      You didn’t know about it back then, but you do know now.

      And knowing how common this recuperation side effect is might help you feel less emotional from now on. Focusing on what the doctors did or didn’t say back in July won’t make you feel any better. In fact, it is guaranteed to make you feel worse. You might want to try focusing instead several times a day on how that previously blocked artery has now been beautifully opened, allowing freshly oxygenated blood to flow easily straight to your precious heart muscle with every heartbeat.

      If your symptoms worsen, don’t hesitate to see your doctor – just to be on the safe side. And do not be afraid to use your nitro if it seems to help. Nitro is your friend. And most of all, remember that you are NOT ALONE – many, many of us have had this very annoying yet temporary issue.

      Best of luck to you. . . ♥

      Like

  4. Just thought I would add my experience. Had a stent placed two weeks ago and starting that night, I noticed a weird localized sensation in my chest. At first I thought it might be the muscles between my ribs. Later I realized it was my heartbeat like you might feel when lying on your left side but more vague. I feel it also lying on my back or sitting up and never felt it before. Initially told I could not feel my stent.

    Now since it is located right where my stent is located it is due to stretching of the artery. It feels like a slight localized vibration, with every beat. Nothing like the angina discomfort. More of an annoyance than anything.
    Hopefully it will settle down and go away with time. But just want others to realize that you may feel your stent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello GM – you’re still in very early days post-stent, so it’s not surprising that you’re experiencing this very common response.

      I’m not sure if what you’re feeling is the new stent itself, or the resulting coronary artery trauma during the stretching of the artery during balloon angioplasty and then the placement of your stent. It makes more sense to consider the procedure, not the stent, as the culprit because we know that both the sudden balloon expansion and the coronary artery trauma caused by stretching can cause temporary physical effects on that artery.

      It’s also common for heart patients to become hyper-vigilant after a cardiac procedure, which I wrote about here. Because of this surreal experience (a foreign object now lives inside our heart!) it’s normal to focus on every twinge, every bubble, every squeak as we wonder: Is this something? Is it nothing? Should I call 911?

      Over time, we typically start to ease up (constant self-monitoring is exhausting!) especially when the sensation is not like the physical pain of a blocked artery preventing blood flow to the heart muscle.

      But if those sensations continue or worsen over time, don’t hesitate to mention them to your doctor.

      Good luck. . .

      Like

      1. Just a followup. Almost 3 months now and I still feel it. Like the ringing in my ears. I just try to ignore it because if you focus on it, it is more noticeable.

        Still waiting for things to settle down. Had a followup cardiac ECHO that was normal.

        Still mostly an annoyance than pain, but something that started right after the procedure.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hello GM – thanks so much for the update. We don’t always get follow-up messages! Your experience is an interesting one: three months seems like enough time for the coronary arteries to recuperate from having the angioplasty/stent procedure. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably suspect the same thing: odd symptoms seemed to coincide with the stent procedure. I’d also be assessing symptoms to see if they seem to be getting a little bit better, week by week – or a little bit worse. “Better” is the direction you want – even tiny improvements can start to add up over time to make a difference in your quality of life.

          So true – if you focus on something, that will be what you pay more attention to, not less.

          If your symptoms stop being an “annoyance” and turn into “pain”, that’s a sign to call your doctor.

          Good luck to you – take care, stay safe out there. . .

          Like

  5. Thank you for the informative article. I am a 50 yr old male and had 1 stent put in due to left main 85% stenosis found. My procedure was elective, but now I am regretting the decision I made.

    The doctors never really told me about the post PCI side effects prior to getting one. All the doctors say I made the right decision to get a stent because I had a severe blockage. However, with 2 weeks in, I still have chest compression and mild pain, but they feel different from angina pain.

    I hope the side effects eventually go away. In one YouTube video I watched, the doctor mentioned that a patient who suffered chest pain post-PCI got better after dropping statins. I am on a statin and my docs are against dropping it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello John – you are in very early days yet with your newly implanted stent – which means your coronary artery is likely still healing from the procedure. I suspect that cardiologists are more concerned about getting a blocked coronary artery unblocked than about the patient’s discomfort later on during recovery – based on the very common response from patients like you and me who were never warned about post-stent chest pain.

      Try not to dwell on your decision to get this stent. You made the best decision you could have made at the time, given your diagnosis and the doctor’s recommendations. Once the artery heals, you’ll likely be amazed and relieved when things feel “normal” once again. Re your question about statins being responsible for your symptoms: I’m not a physician of course but I’m aware of one case study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggesting that a 54-year old man’s left-sided chest pain eased up when statins were discontinued. But that is just one case study. Most muscle pain associated with statins is reported in larger muscles on both sides, and side effects are typically addressed by adjusting dosages or switching to a different brand of statin.

      I too hope that these symptoms will go away as your body heals. If they don’t improve, or if symptoms worsen, don’t hesitate see your doctor again.

      Take care – good luck to you. . .

      Like

  6. Wow I am so glad I ran into this article. My dad just had a stent placed about 2 days ago and is now complaining of this sharp chest pain.

    Reading this and everyone else’s experiences gives me some kind of comfort, but upset because there isn’t enough information given to the patient regarding life post-stent placement.

    While he was in the hospital, he kept asking prior to getting the stent placed and after what are the side effects of having this stent placed? The cardiologist said “nothing, don’t worry about the side effects, what you need to worry about is taking your medication every day, you cannot miss a dose”.

    To begin with, we had a pretty bad experience throughout my dad’s hospital stay with doctors not communicating, but to have the cardiologist be giving us that kind of attitude is unacceptable.

    It wasn’t until a nurse from the cardiac rehab facility within the hospital came and explained more thoroughly some things to watch out for like diet and good medication adherence. But still again she didn’t talk about side effects my dad may feel at home like the chest pain.

    There is still lack of communication in that regard and it’s upsetting to see that this is an ongoing issue everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Michelle – It’s unfortunate that even when your Dad asked direct questions about post-stent side effects, the response was “nothing – don’t worry about side effects”.

      I’m not a physician, but I’m guessing that there are two possible reasons for this kind of dismissively patronizing reply: either the doctor is simply unaware of post-stent “stretch pain”, or the doctor believes (as many doctors used to believe) that patients are so gullible that even the mention of a possible post-procedure issue is going to make these hyper-sensitive patients suddenly develop side effects.

      There are two frightening issues at play here: distressing chest pain during a time when patients reasonably expect that their cardiac symptoms have already been “fixed”, and what might be genuine ignorance of a commonly experienced post-discharge pain on the part of healthcare professionals.

      I hope that your Dad’s symptoms will be both benign and temporary. If his chest pain doesn’t ease up, or if it worsens over time, make sure his doctor knows about it.

      Good luck to both of you…

      Like

  7. My background as a PA/attorney/medical and legal educator makes me an annoying patient at times, as I’m always full of questions, I challenge orthodoxy and don’t accept rote and mechanical responses.

    Still, sitting here tonight after (painful) stent placement earlier in the day, I’m researching the topic and thinking about the irony of having what’s probably stretch pain when I never had any cardiac-related pain before the procedure!

    It’s really annoying, and more so because neither the information that I was offered spontaneously nor the answers I received in response to my questions led me to understand that this might happen.

    Your note jibes with studies that I’ve just read, and I appreciate the additional information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Peter – I had to laugh at your background (PA/attorney/medical-legal educator). You are precisely the kind of person who knows what you need: basic information about risks/benefits, side effects, long- and short-term outcomes. To have that basic info withheld (either deliberately or because medical staff are simply unaware – this is the only possible conclusion I’ve been able to arrive at to explain WHY stent patients are not informed about the potential for post-stent chest pain BEFORE hospital discharge). This may be an artifact from the good old days when physicians widely believed that patients were too gullible to inform them in advance about possible side effects they would all go home and somehow imagine, so better not to mention side effects…

      Is that why so many of my readers share a common experience – that of NOT hearing words that adults deserve to hear? Something simple like:

      “Oh, by the way, here’s something that you may experience after you get home, it’s happening because _______ (insert research results here). This is typically temporary and benign while your arteries are healing…”

      Easy-peasey. Takes just a few seconds to say this. Would be a true comfort to the 40% of heart patients who experience post-stent chest pain by addressing in advance needless worry and stress…

      Meanwhile, it’s so ironic that you did not experience chest pain BEFORE your stent at all. Take care, good luck to you. . .

      Like

    2. Dear Peter,

      Trust me, I had the same experience. To make matters even worse, I am a doctor and a clinician-scientist.

      Imagine what my frustration levels would have been. I used to teach my postgraduate and undergraduate students about this procedure and I always took it too lightly that everything would be alright post-operatively.

      My whole life was up-ended back then after that fateful day on 17th November 2021. We need to seriously do something about this. As an academic and a doctor, I feel nothing has been done to address this and doctors nonchalantly demand patients man up to their new reality, none of which was addressed earlier on.

      I suggest we team up and do something about this once and for all. Some form of social activism, anything. I am open to suggestions. I no longer want to sit back and watch others suffer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, this is a first. . .

        Dr. CraftyWizard, you’re the first MD to share your own experience here about what countless heart patients have been going through, post-stent. I appreciate hearing from you.

        I think your observation about clinicians taking post-stent chest pain too lightly is SO true. It’s as if interventional cardiologists believe that their responsibilities end as soon as the patient leaves the cath lab. What goes on at home for those patients simply doesn’t interest them.

        If it WERE of any interest at all, these docs would ensure that all staff in the cath lab, in the CCU, in the Discharge Lounge (if their hospital even has a Discharge Lounge!) were not only well-informed about this very common post-stent reality but made sure that no heart patient would leave the hospital without a written note in any take-home follow-up material describing what MIGHT happen once they got home.

        As an MD, you’re in a privileged and powerful position to undertake your new project. You’re not, like me, a dull-witted heart attack patient who has been writing and speaking about this for years with little or no effect – except to hear from countless patients who have been shocked and frightened by their post-stent chest pain).

        My suggestion: consider contributing your own story to a journal. For example:

        – submit an 800-word (max) Opinion piece to the BMJ, or:
        – a 1,000 word (max) “On My Mind” Commentary piece to Circulation , or:
        – a 650-word (max) Opinion piece to Nursing Times – or any other journals that are read by nursing staff (since the last person to interact with a newly-stented heart patient is typically a nurse at discharge).

        These are just a few journals off the top of my head – you can do some homework on other publications read by the medical professionals who are sending their heart patients home without adequately educating them on the predictable reality of post-stent chest pain.

        They need to hear from heart patients like you, one of their own.

        Good luck to you on this new social activism! And please keep me posted if you do submit your own story for publication so I can help to share a link to it here for my Heart Sisters readers.

        Like

  8. It was such a relief to find this post. I had a stent placement two days ago and yesterday I was very concerned that I was worse.

    I totally agree “why aren’t heart patients like me warned about this before hospital discharge”? When I was discharged, they said you shouldn’t feel anything in my chest!

    Thank you for this and my wife thanks you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome, James. I hope this helps to lighten concerns for you – and of course for your wife, too! If your symptoms continue or worsen, do not hesitate to contact your cardiologist.

      Best of luck to you both. . .

      Like

      1. Thank God I found this site.

        In early June 2022, my husband had a stent placed in his heart main artery that was totally blocked. Although the doctors claim the procedure was successful, he has been complaining of irregular heart beat, chest pain and shivers.

        We had to call an ambulance to go back to the same hospital and he was admitted. Nothing done, no information provided. His irregular heart beat is worse at night. We had to cut our vacation trip short because of these symptoms. When we went back to his cardiologist, he dismissed us saying everything was okay. My husband still has the problem.

        for the this site, we feel better. At least there is some explanation. I wish they told us at hospital discharge, all the stress we are going through would have been avoided.

        Thank you
        Elleni Mulugeta

        Like

        1. Hello Elleni – what you’re describing is a very stressful experience for both the patient AND the patient’s family! Heart patients expect that they’ll feel much better after a procedure to unblock a blocked coronary artery – not worse!

          I’m not a physician so of course cannot diagnose what’s going on, but I can say generally that some of your husband’s symptoms (the irregular heartbeat, for example) many not quite match what researchers describe as being typical of post-stent chest pain.

          If his symptoms continue, this scenario may be worth getting a second opinion from an electrophysiologist (that’s a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm disorders). Something is causing your husband’s distressing symptoms – but you just don’t quite know what that cause is yet. I hope you and your husband will solve the mystery soon.

          Take care, and stay safe. . .

          Like

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