Cardiac Catheterization

Recovering at Home

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When you arrive home, you should feel well enough to walk around.

You’ll be able to remove the bandage over the catheter insertion site the day after you arrive home. Try to keep the area clean and dry the first week after cardiac catheterization. It’s a good idea to avoid swimming and soaking in baths or hot tubs. Your cardiologist will give you instructions about bathing and showering.

A small bruise may develop at the site where the catheter was inserted, and the area may feel sore or tender for about a week. It’s also common for a small lump to form under the skin at the insertion site. This will go away over time.

Your doctor will let you know what your activity level should be during your recovery period.

  • If the procedure was performed through your groin, avoid heavy lifting, straining when using the bathroom, or strenuous exercise for the first 3 to 5 days. You can climb stairs if necessary, but try to climb slowly.
  • If the procedure was performed through your arm, avoid heavy lifting and moving your hand quickly or too much.

Most people are able to drive 24 hours after cardiac catheterization.

Be sure to call your doctor if you have:

  • Continuous or large amounts of bleeding from an incision in the arm
  • A growing lump at the incision site
  • Pain at or near the incision site
  • Persistent or new discomfort in the groin
  • Signs of infection (such as unusual pain, swelling, redness, or creamy discharge) at or near the incision site
  • A fever of 100 degrees or more
  • Any other symptoms that seem abnormal to you.

Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you have significant bleeding from a groin incision.