HF 5691

Home Care After Cardiac Catheterization/Arterial Angiography

You had a cardiac catheterization on ______ through the:

Right / Left

Brachial artery / Radial artery

Going Home

Have someone drive you home. If you had medicine to help you relax, do not drive or make any important decisions until the next day.

Rest quietly for the rest of the day. You can use the arm and hand with the puncture site for normal daily activities.

Care of the Puncture Site

You may shower after 24 hours. Remove the bandage over the puncture site before you shower.

For the next 3 days:

  • Gently clean the site using soap and water while in the shower. Gently dry the site. Do not rub the site.

  • Cover the site with a band-aid or dressing. Cover the entire area.

  • Keep the site clean and dry to prevent infection. If the band-aid or dressing becomes wet, remove it and replace it with a new one.

  • Inspect the site daily for signs of infection.

Signs of Infection

  • Redness, swelling or drainage at the site

  • Pain that doesn’t go away

  • Fever over 100.4°F for two readings taken 4 hours apart

  • A red streak going towards your elbow or upper arm


  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds for 1 week or until it has healed.

  • Do not golf, do carpentry, play tennis or other vigorous arm activity for 1 week.

  • Do not soak your wound in a bathtub, hot tub, or swimming pool for 1 week or until the site has healed.

  • You can cook, type, clean, and drive, if able, the day after you go home.

  • Elevate your arm overnight and while resting for the first 2-3 days to prevent swelling of your hand.

  • You may return to work on.______________________________

What to Expect

  • Mild soreness or tenderness at the site or forearm that may last 1 week.

  • Bruising at the site that may take 2-3 weeks to go away.

  • A small lump (dime to quarter size) which may last up to 6 weeks.

Pain Control

  • You may take acetaminophen(Tylenol ) 325mg tablets every 4-6 hours.

  • You may put an ice pack or warm pack over the site for 20 minutes every 2 hours. Gently wipe the site after you remove the pack if it is wet.


Take your present medicines as prescribed. Tell your doctor of any side effects. Do not stop taking a medicine without talking to your doctor.

If you had a stent placed in your heart, you must take Plavix (clopidogrel), Effient (prasugrel) or Brilinta (ticagrelor) for a time. Before you go home, make sure you have a prescription for one of these medicines. If you are not able to pay for this medicine, tell your nurse or pharmacist.

When to Call

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Signs of infection

  • Severe pain

  • Numbness or tingling in the arm or hand of the puncture site

Call 911 if you have:

  • Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes of constant pressure (keep pressure on the site until help arrives)

  • Your hand becomes cold, turns blue or you have severe pain.

  • Heart symptoms that have not gone away 15 minutes after lying down or taking nitroglycerin (if prescribed). Heart symptoms include:

    • Chest, arm, neck, back or belly pain or pressure

    • Sweatiness

    • Shortness of breath or breathing problems

Follow Up

See your After Visit Summary or After Hospital Care Plan to find out about your medicines, lab tests and follow up visits.

Who to Call

UW Heart and Vascular Care Clinic

Weekdays, 8 am to 5 pm

(608) 263-1530

After hours, weekends and holidays, the paging operator will answer this number. Ask for the cardiac doctor on call. Give your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.

The toll-free number is 1-800-323-8942.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.