Sports Medicine

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 397–416 | Cite as

Effects of Catheterization on Artery Function and Health: When Should Patients Start Exercising Following Their Coronary Intervention?

  • Andrea Tryfonos
  • Daniel J. Green
  • Ellen A. DawsonEmail author
Review Article


Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a leading cause of death worldwide, and percutaneous transluminal coronary angiography (PTCA) and/or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; angioplasty) are commonly used to diagnose and/or treat the obstructed coronaries. Exercise-based rehabilitation is recommended for all CAD patients; however, most guidelines do not specify when exercise training should commence following PTCA and/or PCI. Catheterization can result in arterial dysfunction and acute injury, and given the fact that exercise, particularly at higher intensities, is associated with elevated inflammatory and oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and a pro-thrombotic milieu, performing exercise post-PTCA/PCI may transiently elevate the risk of cardiac events. This review aims to summarize extant literature relating to the impacts of coronary interventions on arterial function, including the time-course of recovery and the potential deleterious and/or beneficial impacts of acute versus long-term exercise. The current literature suggests that arterial dysfunction induced by catheterization recovers 4–12 weeks following catheterization. This review proposes that a period of relative arterial vulnerability may exist and exercise during this period may contribute to elevated event susceptibility. We therefore suggest that CAD patients start an exercise training programme between 2 and 4 weeks post-PCI, recognizing that the literature suggest there is a ‘grey area’ for functional recovery between 2 and 12 weeks post-catheterization. The timing of exercise onset should take into consideration the individual characteristics of patients (age, severity of disease, comorbidities) and the intensity, frequency and duration of the exercise prescription.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Andrea Tryfonos, Daniel J. Green and Ellen A. Dawson declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


Prof. Green is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Principal Research Fellowship (1080914).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Sport and Exercise ScienceLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science)The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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