Quitting Smoking Can Contribute to Angioplasty Success and Outcomes

If you are scheduled for an angioplasty procedure, it would be best if you quit smoking now. This was what senior researcher Dr. John Spertus, of Saint Luke's Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO and his colleagues suggested.

Angioplasty is a nonsurgical procedure that focuses on improving flow of blood to the heart. Patients dealing with too much fatty plaque in their blood vessels may need to undergo this procedure when lifestyle changes or medications fail at improving their heart conditions. Angioplasty is also recommended for patients who have had a heart attack. There are about 1 million adults in the U.S. who undergo angioplasty every year.

In a recent study, Dr. Spertus and his team said people who smoke may benefit much more from the procedure if they quit at the time they are scheduled for angioplasty. The “quitters” experienced better quality of life and didn't experience chest pain as much as those who carried on with the smoking habit.

“It's a no-brainer. Stopping smoking seems like a relatively easy way to increase your chances of getting the best outcomes from angioplasty,” Dr. Spertus commented, adding cardiologists have a crucial role in helping patients stop smoking so they can reap the benefits of their treatments.

“It's not just important that we do a good job treating the blockage,” he said. “Cardiologists have to work with patients to help them stop smoking, whether it means nicotine replacement, a smoking cessation program, or some other intervention.”