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HF 5691

Caring for Yourself After Cardiac Catheterization/Arterial Angiography Brachial or Radial Artery 

Your cardiac catheterization on _______________________________ was through the

RIGHT  /  LEFT BRACHIAL  /  RADIAL artery.

Going Home

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

Rest quietly for the rest of the day. You can use the arm and hand with the puncture site to eat, use the phone or TV remote and other usual 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. Make sure to 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.

Activities

  • 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. It is okay to wash your hands and shower. 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.

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.

What to Do for Minor Pain

  • 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.

Signs and Symptoms of Infection

Watch for:

  • Redness, swelling or drainage at the site

  • Prolonged pain

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

  • A red streak going towards your elbow or upper arm

When to Call for Help

If you have bleeding or sudden swelling at the site, you should apply direct pressure. If the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of constant pressure, call 911. Keep pressure on the site until help arrives.

If your hand becomes cold, turns blue or you have severe pain, call 911.

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Any signs of infection

  • Severe pain

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

If you have any of your heart symptoms sit or lie down. If prescribed, take nitroglycerin as directed. If the symptoms have not gone away within 15 minutes, call 911. Heart symptoms include:

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

  • Sweatiness 

  • Shortness of breath or breathing problems

Phone Numbers

UW Heart and Vascular Care Clinic (8AM to 5PM): (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. 

If you live out of the area, please call 

1-800-323-8942.

Return to Work 

You may return to work on. ___________________________________

Medicines

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.

Follow Up Visits or Needs

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