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What Should I Do after Cardiac Catheterization?

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  • Written By: Marco Sumayao
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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Doctors recommend that patients refrain from moderate to strenuous physical activity immediately after cardiac catheterization. While patients can resume most normal activities roughly 48 hours after the procedure, experts advise that resumption of all physical activities occurs after two weeks of rest. Depending on the method and type of dye used during the procedure, patients will need to drink plenty of fluids for a few days after cardiac catheterization. Patients should also take great care to ease pressure on the area of the catheter's insertion until the wound fully heals. Individuals who have undergone coronary catheterization should report any discomfort they feel in their chests, especially if they had previously undergone heart surgery or have a history of heart disease.

Due to the sensitive nature of the procedure, patients are advised to avoid any unnecessary physical strain after cardiac catheterization. In general, patients should avoid driving, lifting, and climbing stairs for about 48 hours after the procedure. Patients should also avoid bending at the waist, as it can cause complications arising from shifts in blood pressure. Patients should also avoid submerging their bodies in water for about two weeks after cardiac catheterization to avoid any further damage to the wound; individuals fresh from a coronary catheterization should not bathe in a bathtub and go swimming.

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Doctors usually advise their patients to increase their fluid intake for 24 to 72 hours after cardiac catheterization. This allows the patients' bodies to flush out the dye used for the procedure. This guideline can be advised against, however, depending on the patient's physical condition and the type of dye used.

Patients should make sure not to put any unnecessary strain on the area through which the catheter was inserted. The site of cardiac catheterization should be cleaned to stave off infection, but in a method that does not place any pressure on the wound. As a rule of thumb, patients should dab the area lightly instead of rubbing it. In addition, patients should place a hand over the area of insertion before coughing, laughing, or any behavior that involves abdominal pressure in order to counteract the strain on the wound.

Experts advise, as in all procedures involving the heart, that patients report any unusual sensations they might experience after cardiac catheterization. Although slight dizziness and nausea can be common following the procedure, they may be signs of complications should they prove to be persistent. Patients should also tell their doctors about any chest pains or unexplainable fatigue they experience after cardiac catheterization.

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