Curious How Mindful Drinking Can Help You Thrive? 🎉🙌
Click Here
Person experiencing chest discomfort
Alcohol and Health

Can I Drink Alcohol After Having a Stent Fitted?

April 9, 2024
19 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
April 9, 2024
19 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
April 9, 2024
19 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
April 9, 2024
19 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Reframe Content Team
April 9, 2024
19 min read

Showing Some Love for Your Heart

  • A stent is placed to increase blood flow from our hearts to the rest of our body after we’ve had a heart attack or near-blockage of a coronary artery.
  • It’s generally safe to drink moderate amounts of alcohol after having a stent placed, but that depends on your overall health and the seriousness of your procedure. Always listen to your doctor’s advice!
  • Reframe can help you make smart choices when it comes to drinking habits to prevent heart problems and other related health conditions.

Whether you’ve ever experienced heart problems, or they run in your family, or you're simply wanting to be more proactive about your heart health, you’ve come to the right place! February also happens to be Heart Health Month in the U.S., so what better way to celebrate than by educating yourself about the relationship between our heart health and alcohol. 

If you’ve ever had a stent fitted or know someone who has, you may be wondering if you’ll ever be able to get back to your old self. “Do I have to give up Chick-fil-A for good?” “Will I be able to get back to long-distance running?” “Can I drink alcohol after having a stent fitted?”

Only your doctor can definitively answer questions about your prognosis, but we can touch on the alcohol-related side of things. Let’s explore and find out: Can you drink alcohol with stents in your heart? And how soon after a heart attack can you drink alcohol?

How and Why Stents Are Used

Person experiencing chest discomfort

A stent is a small tube that a doctor installs inside one of our arteries to open it up after it’s been blocked by either cholesterol or fat buildup that was limiting — or, in the case of a heart attack, completely stopping — blood from flowing through our heart and to the rest of our body. 

Once a doctor removes the buildup that was causing the blockage in the artery, a stent is then placed to prevent further stress to that area. Think of your coronary arteries as mining tunnels — a stent acts as a support structure to keep the tunnel from collapsing.

Simply put, our coronary arteries are a big deal! A completely blocked coronary artery will cause a heart attack. The classic signs and symptoms of a heart attack include crushing chest pain or pressure, shoulder or arm pain, shortness of breath, and sweating. Women are more likely to have atypical symptoms, such as neck or jaw pain, nausea, or unusual fatigue.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately, especially if you’ve already had a heart attack or have a stent in place.

Who Needs a Stent? 

Stents are typically used for those of us who have experienced heart problems such as a heart attack. They’re also used when we have advanced atherosclerosis, a condition that involves plaque collecting inside an artery. However, stents can be used for other conditions that aren’t related to the heart but are related to circulation and blood flow.

Here are some additional conditions that may require a stent:

  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD), a specific type of atherosclerosis in the arms and legs that causes dysfunction, pain, and numbness.

  • Carotid artery disease (CAD), a type of atherosclerosis in the carotid artery, the essential express lane that allows oxygen-rich blood to travel directly from the heart to the brain. CAD causes decreased blood flow to the brain and can lead to stroke.

  • Renal artery stenosis (RAS), where the arteries in our kidneys narrow from any cause (including atherosclerosis). RAS can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) and kidney disease, including kidney failure.

  • Aneurysms are a weakening of the walls of a blood vessel. They often show up in imaging as a bulging area of a blood vessel that should be smooth. When blood pressure rises, the wall can rupture and cause internal bleeding. Stents are used to reduce pressure on the vessel wall.

Just like stents help increase blood flow when our hearts are blocked, they also help increase blood flow through our bodies when we have another blockage, such as deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in your leg, arm, or pelvis) or an aneurysm. They can also help with blockages in airways for someone experiencing a blockage in their lungs, for example. However, stents are most commonly used to prevent further damage after a heart attack.

Alcohol and Heart Attacks

As we mentioned, stents are often used after heart attacks to shore up the structure of the blood vessel that was blocked during the attack. Unfortunately, alcohol has many detrimental effects on the heart. But can alcohol cause cardiac arrest?

Does Alcohol Cause Heart Attacks?

Drinking alcohol is linked to a number of poor health outcomes, including heart conditions. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke — but can alcohol give you a heart attack?

Excessive drinking can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle, and can contribute to conditions associated with heart attacks, such as diabetes, obesity, clotting, high blood pressure, and atrial fibrillation.

In general, it’s best to avoid alcohol if you’re concerned about heart health. And if you’ve already had a heart attack, it’s even more important.

How Soon After a Heart Attack Can I Drink Alcohol?

We don’t recommend drinking alcohol after a heart attack or stent placement, but for those of us who do choose to consume alcohol, it’s important to exercise caution. Speak to a healthcare provider about your individual case and medical history. For some of us, it may be safe to drink a glass of wine after a week or so; whereas, for others, it may be best to wait up to a month or more or to cut out alcohol completely. 

The takeaway is this: If we choose to drink alcohol, it’s important to practice moderation. Remember, there is no “safe” level of alcohol, only best practices for reducing the risk of harm.

Now, back to stents!

How Does the Stent Procedure Work?

The clinical term for a heart stent procedure is percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or angioplasty. The procedure is usually done using a local anesthetic, though we’ll likely be given medication to help us relax.

An inflatable catheter (called a “balloon”) is inserted into a blood vessel, typically through our wrist. Once the doctor determines the target location, the stent is placed using special X-ray equipment. The balloon is inflated, and the stent is expanded around it. Then the balloon is deflated, leaving the stent in place. 

After the procedure, we will likely be required to take blood thinners or other medications to ensure our arteries remain open and the blood continues to flow freely, as it should.

What Should I Avoid After I Get a Stent?

The recovery process after getting a stent fitted depends on the seriousness of the preceding event. It’s always important to speak with our healthcare provider and ask detailed questions. To protect our well-being, it’s important to be honest and open with our doctor. 

But generally, here are a few things to avoid at least for a few days after a stent procedure:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Stressful activities (for example, returning to work right away)
  • Drinking alcohol

All of this sounds like a drag — but hey, it’s better than the alternative! After your recovery period, you’ll be able to get back to your normal self. However, you will likely have to adjust to a different lifestyle with healthier choices. Say goodbye to your regular fried chicken sandwich for lunch!

But wait, can you drink alcohol with stents in your heart? Let’s find out!

Post-Stent Procedure Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption

Can I Drink Alcohol After Getting a Stent Fitted?

As we’ve reiterated throughout the article, we recommend speaking with your doctor about this before you go for a drink. Everyone’s recovery process is different, and we all react differently to medical procedures. Depending on overall health, a few drinks might not kill us, but drinking alcohol at this stage poses a lot of risks. Here are the big ones:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is a common heart rhythm disorder, and alcohol is the most common trigger of episodes. AFib feels like a flutter in the chest. This can lead to exhaustion, dizziness, lightheadedness, heart attack, and stroke. Don’t chance it!

  • Blood pressure fluctuations. Alcohol causes swings to your blood pressure, putting extra strain on your body and heart.

  • Medication interactions. After a stent placement (and maybe before), we’ll likely be taking a blood thinner, aspirin, a statin (anti-cholesterol med), and maybe a pain medication. In any case, alcohol interacts with all drugs typically used after a stent placement. At high amounts, this interaction can be fatal.

Let’s face it, if we’ve just had a stent placed, we probably have more than the average health considerations to take into account! We’re healing not only from the procedure, but we’re in the process of recovering from whatever condition led to the placement of the stent. To optimize heart and blood health and give our body the best chance at healing, it’s best to take it easy and avoid stressing our body out with alcohol.

When To Call a Doctor

Seek medical attention or dial 911 if you experience any of these symptoms after a stent procedure: 

  • Bleeding, swelling, discharge, or numbness
  • Fever or chills
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Abnormal (too slow or too fast) pulse
  • Chest pain

Although the angioplasty and stent will help the blood circulate better, that doesn’t mean we’re completely off the hook! We still need to do our part to live a healthy lifestyle. That means eating healthy foods, exercising, avoiding tobacco products, and limiting alcohol. 

What Is Drinking in Moderation?

Moderation is key to overall health and a healthy relationship with alcohol. We may have heard the term “moderation” thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean?

Moderation means consuming alcoholic beverages in reasonable limits that mitigate risks to health. Moderation implies a balanced and controlled approach to drinking. It’s typically defined as less than one drink per day for women and fewer than two drinks per day for men. 

Moderation entails making intentional and informed decisions about the quantity and frequency of our alcohol intake. Mindful drinking prioritizes our health goals and allows us to avoid negative consequences such as impaired judgment or dependency. To learn more about how mindful drinking benefits overall well-being, check out our article about health benefits of cutting back on drinking

Luckily, life offers many options for enjoying ourselves without drinking alcohol. Let’s take a look at how we can protect our heart health with sobriety!

Healthy Alternatives to Drinking Alcohol

Many of us have heard that a glass of red wine is good for heart health. So is that an invitation to drink our daily glass (and then some) if we’re on a path of healing our heart?

Think again! We wish it were that simple. Most of those studies have been debunked, or it was proven that we get all the benefits of drinking red wine by just drinking non-alcoholic grape juice (without the negative effects of alcohol).

Luckily, there are heart-healthy ways to enjoy a “drink” without alcohol. In fact, this time of healing can stand as the beginning of a greater journey toward sobriety or mindfully reduced drinking. Let’s look at some healthy alternatives to drinking alcohol after getting a stent placed.

  • Opt for a mocktail. We love mocktails here at Reframe. They give us the feeling of drinking a cocktail without the negative effects! Check out these healthy (and fun!) mocktail recipes or try ordering a mocktail at a bar — best of all, mocktails are often free (or very cheap!). 
  • Try non-alcoholic wine or beer. You may be scrunching up your nose at the idea of non-alcoholic beer or wine, but if you’re really craving the flavor, give one of these a try. With the rise of the sober-curious movement, N/A beers are increasingly common and fancy. Many craft breweries have N/A options, and there are even entire breweries dedicated to making a variety of craft N/A beer styles. There’s no harm in trying! You may end up really enjoying the flavor without the results (or price tag) of alcoholic beer.
  • Juice it up. Juices and smoothies are a healthy alternative to drinking and also can be made with heart-healthy ingredients like fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. On top of that, they’re easy to make — delicious! Consider a detox drink packed with nutrients like Vitamin C, B, and antioxidants (think blueberries) or inflammation-busting ingredients like citrus or turmeric.

Whether we’re recovering from heart surgery or taking a break from drinking for other health reasons, there are many benefits to an alcohol-free lifestyle worth exploring.

The Bottom Line

Although it’s not technically a “no-no” to drink alcohol after having a stent fitted, the best idea is to exercise caution with anything that could potentially put us at risk or cause any complications — especially when we’re dealing with matters of the heart! Our hearts are really the heartbeat of our entire well-being. As always, Reframe is here to help us all make positive changes that benefit our health.

Summary FAQs

1. What is a stent?

A stent is a small tube typically used to hold open passages in the body, such as clogged or narrowed blood vessels. A doctor places it during a procedure called angioplasty.

2. Who needs a stent?

Stents are typically used to treat heart problems, such as a heart attack or other conditions where a coronary artery was blocked. However, they can also be used for other circulatory problems, such as blood clots or deep vein thrombosis.

3. Do you get a stent removed?

No, typically a stent is permanently placed.

4. Can I drink alcohol after having a stent placed?

Moderate alcohol consumption might be permitted, but it’s important to speak with a doctor about the associated risks. The best idea is to avoid alcohol entirely (or reserve a single drink for special occasions).

Show Your Heart Some Love by Quitting or Cutting Back on Alcohol With Reframe!

You’ve come to the right place! Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 forum and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today! 

Call to action to download reframe app for ios usersCall to action to download reframe app for android users
Reframe has helped over 2 millions people to build healthier drinking habits globally
Take The Quiz
Our Editorial Standards
At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
Learn more
Updated Regularly
Our articles undergo frequent updates to present the newest scientific research and changes in expert consensus in an easily understandable and implementable manner.

Table of Contents
Call to action for signing up reframe app
Relevant Articles
No items found.
Ready to meet the BEST version of yourself?
Start Your Custom Plan
Call to action to download reframe app for ios usersCall to action to download reframe app for android users
5 Star Reviews
Downloads (as of 2023)
a bottle and a glass
Drinks Eliminated

Scan the QR code to get started!

Reframe supports you in reducing alcohol consumption and enhancing your well-being.

Ready To Meet the Best Version of Yourself?
3,250,000+ Downloads (as of 2023)
31,364 Reviews
500,000,000+ Drinks eliminated
Try Reframe for 7 Days Free! Scan to download the App