Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac Catheterization Recovering from a Cardiac Catheterization

If you have had cardiac catheterization, it is important that you receive follow-up care, know about the possible complications that may occur after the procedure, and follow the treatment plan that your healthcare provider recommends for your condition.

Receive follow-up care

It is important to get routine follow-up care after you have cardiac catheterization. Talk with your healthcare provider about how often to schedule office visits.

  • Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially if your cardiac catheterization was needed because of coronary heart disease or heart attack.
  • Ask when you can resume physical activity and lifting objects, and what level of activity is best for you.
  • Follow instructions on how to care for the site where the doctor accessed your blood vessel, including information about when you can take a bath or swim.
  • Keep any follow-up appointments or tests.
  • Take any medicines as directed by your doctor.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about any blood tests you may need if you were placed on blood thinners after your procedure.

When to call the doctor

Late complications from cardiac catheterization are rare but can be serious. A small bruise and tenderness at the access site is normal. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following, as they may be signs of serious problems:

  • Bleeding from the access site that cannot be stopped with firm pressure
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Increased pain, redness, or bruising at the access site
  • Irregular, very slow, or fast heartbeat
  • Swelling at the access site
  • Yellow or green discharge draining from the access site
  • Your leg or arm that was used for access becoming numb or weak, or any part of it turning cold or blue

Other serious complications after catheterization, although rare, include heart attack and stroke. Know the signs of a heart attack and signs of a stroke, and call 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone else is having symptoms.

Research for Your Health

Learn about current and future NHLBI research to advance treatment and improve our scientific understanding of the causes of heart attacks. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBI’s broader commitment to advancing scientific discovery for heart and vascular diseases.

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