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Care After Your Cardiac Catheterization

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 Site 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.