Children's Heart Center

What to Expect After Your Cardiac Catheterization Procedure

  • Your family will receive preliminary results of the catheterization.
  • IV fluids will run continuously until you can drink adequately on your own.
  • Once you're awake, you may drink clear liquids (apple juice, water). Your diet will be advanced as tolerated.
  • You must stay in bed with your leg straight for 4-6 hours after the completion of the procedure to allow the artery and vein to heal.
  • The nurse will frequently check the pulse in your leg, vital signs, and the cath site.
  • You will need to use a bedpan while you are on bedrest, afterwards you will be allowed to get out of bed.
  • If you're going home you will be discharged once you have been out of bed, walked and tolerated your diet.
  • If you are staying overnight:
    • Your dressing will be removed in the morning.
    • Follow-up testing (echocardiogram, CXR) will be completed prior to discharge.
    • Discharge will occur after test results are reviewed.
  • Written instructions will be reviewed and provided at the time of discharge

Discharge Guidelines

After the procedure, it is important to follow these discharge guidelines:
  • Take it easy for the remainder of the first night.
  • Do not take a bath for 72 hours.
  • No swimming or bike riding for one week.
  • No vigorous activities or contact sports for 72 hours.
  • Avoid the gym for 72 hours.
  • If still present, remove the pressure bandage the following day after applying warm wet washcloths to loosen dressing.
  • Keep a band-aid on the cath site for 72 hours. Change daily or with every diaper change.
  • Take Motrin or Tylenol for discomfort; the area might be tender or slightly bruised.
  • Resume taking any medications you were taking before the procedure.
  • Continue to drink plenty of liquids.

The catheterization data is presented at our weekly cardiology conference (attended by cardiologists and surgeons) held Thursday mornings. Your cardiologist will contact you regarding final recommendations and appropriate follow-up will be arranged.

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