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What Happens After a Cardiac Catheterization?
If the catheter was inserted in your arm for your cardiac catheterization, the catheter and sheath are removed. A special band will b placed on your wrist to keep the artery from bleeding. You will be able to walk around. You will be observed for a few hours to make sure you are feeling well after the procedure. You may receive medication to relieve discomfort in your arm after the anesthetic wears off. You will be given instructions regarding how to care for your arm when you return home. Tell your nurse if you think you are bleeding or feel any numbness or tingling in your fingers.
If the catheter was inserted in your groin, the introducer sheath will be removed and the incision will be closed with stitches, a collagen seal, or applied pressure. In some situations, the introducer sheath may be sutured into place and removed after the bleeding stops. A collagen seal is a protein material that works with your body's natural healing processes to form a clot in the artery.
A sterile dressing will be placed on the groin area to prevent infection. You will need to lay flat and keep the leg straight for two to six hours to prevent bleeding. Your head can not be raised more than two pillows high (about 30 degrees). Do not raise your head off the pillows, as this can cause strain in your abdomen and groin. Do not try to sit or stand. The nurse will check your bandage regularly, but tell your nurse if you think you are bleeding (have a wet, warm sensation) or if your toes begin to tingle or feel numb. You may receive medication to relieve discomfort in the groin area after the anesthetic wears off. Your nurse will help you out of bed when you are allowed to get up.
Your doctor's orders will determine when you will be allowed out of bed to go to the bathroom after your cardiac catheterization. You will need assistance getting out of bed, so ask for help. The nurse will help you sit up and dangle your legs on the side of the bed.
You will need to drink plenty of liquids to clear the contrast material from your body.
You may feel the need to urinate more frequently. This is normal. If a urinary catheter was not placed during the procedure, you will need to use a bedpan or urinal until you are able to get out of bed.
Your doctor will tell you if you are able to return home or will need to stay overnight. In either case, you will be monitored for several hours after the procedure.
Treatment, including medications, dietary changes, and future procedures will be discussed with you prior to going home. Care of the wound site, activity, and follow-up care will also be discussed.
Please ask your doctor if you have any questions about cardiac catheterization.
The Cleveland Clinic Heart Center. The American Heart Association. The National Institutes of Health
Reviewed by Robert J Bryg, MD on January 24, 2008
Edited by Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD on October 01, 2005
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