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If you need it, you may have medicine for discomfort or to help you relax. Your nurse will check your blood pressure, pulses in your wrist and feet and the catheter site or chest wall for the next several hours.

As soon as the procedure is finished, you will need to drink liquids. The dye used in the procedure is removed from the body by the kidneys. You will be asked to drink extra fluid, and your IV will continue to give you fluids for several hours. You will need to urinate more frequently than usual. When you are able to drink fluids or eat, your nurse will let you know. If you have chest discomfort or pain, notify your nurse immediately.

Wound Care

Depending on your procedure, one or two small tubes (sheaths) may be left in the groin for several hours. An IV will be attached to the sheath. You will need to lie flat on your back, keeping your leg straight and still. The head of your bed may be raised slightly. Talk to your physician before the procedure if you have back problems or cannot lie flat for several hours.

For a cardiac catheterization or peripheral vascular procedure, your doctor may use an internal closure device allowing you to get out of bed sooner.

Alternatively, a nurse or technologist will remove the sheath and apply manual pressure over the puncture site. Sometimes a bandage will be applied and a belt may be placed over the site and left for several hours to apply pressure and prevent bleeding.

You may move the leg that was not used to a more comfortable position; however, do not cross your legs, try to sit up or get out of bed until the nurse says it is safe to do so. You may need to roll side to side to affectively lie straight. Your nurse will assist you with getting into a comfortable position.

For an implant procedure, your doctor may put your arm, on the side of the implant, in a sling. This is to help remind you to keep the arm still and at waist level.

If you need to cough or sneeze, place your hand over the bandage and press firmly while coughing or sneezing. If you feel sudden pain at the site or if you notice a warm, sticky sensation, notify your nurse immediately.

Wrist Care

The sheath will be removed from your wrist before you leave the Catheterization Lab. A device will be used to apply pressure to the puncture site and to remind you not to use your wrist or hand. The pressure will be gradually reduced and the device removed. A pressure bandage will be applied. Do not bend or twist the wrist until your nurse tells you to do so.

Going Home After Your Cardiac Catheterization

The doctor will determine when you will be discharged after the recovery period, which can be from three to eight hours following a procedure. Discharges can occur at any time of day or night. Please make sure that your family member taking you home is okay with driving after dark. Or, you may want to consider staying at the WakeMed Heart Center Inn located on the third floor of the Heart Center. For more information and rates, please call 919-350-7777. Heart patients staying in the Inn receive a discounted rate.

If the procedure requires more invasive treatment procedures such as angioplasty or stent insertion, the patient will stay overnight in the main hospital for observation. Implant patients will be required to stay overnight. If you have any questions not covered in this brochure, please ask any of the nursing staff or doctors.

What to Expect Following A Procedure

Feeling tired after a procedure is normal. Check with your doctor as to when you can resume normal activities and return to work. Expect bruising, discoloration and perhaps a small lump at the puncture site up to a couple of days following the procedure. This is normal and will gradually disappear over the next several weeks.