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HF 7494

Caring for Yourself After a Right Heart Catheterization 

Your right heart catheterization on _______________ (date) was through the:

  • RIGHT / LEFT femoral vein (groin)

  • RIGHT / LEFT internal jugular vein (neck)

  • RIGHT / LEFT brachial vein (arm)

Going Home

Have someone drive you home. You should not drive at all for 24 hours. If you had medicine to help you relax or sedate you during the procedure, you should not make any important decisions until the next day. Rest quietly.

Incision Care

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

  • Do not use lotions or powders in the area.

  • Keep the site clean and dry. 

  • Inspect the site daily for redness, swelling, or drainage.

Activities

If your puncture site was in your groin:

  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds for 3 days or until the wound has healed.

  • No vigorous activity or straining for 3 days. Walking on a flat surface for exercise is best.

  • Do not sit in a bathtub, hot tub, or go into a swimming pool for 1 week or until the site is healed.

If your puncture site is in your arm:

  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds with that arm.

  • No vigorous activity with that arm for 3 days.

  • Do not soak that arm in a bathtub, hot tub, or go swimming for 1 week, or until site is healed.

If your puncture site is in your neck:

  • Do not soak the site in a bathtub, hot tub, or go swimming for 1 week, or until site is healed.

  • No vigorous activity or straining for 3 days.

What to Expect

  • You may feel tender or sore at the site for 1 week.

  • You may have mild oozing of blood from the site. For mild oozing, apply pressure at the site with your hand and cover with a bandage when the bleeding stops. The blood should not soak more than two bandages.

  • You may have bruising at the site that should go away after 2-3 weeks. 

Pain Control

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

  • You may place 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.

Return to Work

You may return to work on ___________________________________.

Medicines

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

Changes to your medicines:

  1. ____________________________________________________________

  2. ____________________________________________________________

  3. ____________________________________________________________

  4. ____________________________________________________________

  5. ____________________________________________________________

Laboratory Tests

  1. ____________________________________________________________

  2. ____________________________________________________________

  3. ____________________________________________________________

Follow-Up Visits or Needs

  1. ____________________________________________________________

  2. ____________________________________________________________

  3. ____________________________________________________________

When to Call 

Call 911 if you have:

  • Bleeding or sudden swelling at the site that does not stop after 10 minutes of constant pressure. Keep pressure at the site until help arrives.  

  • Chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath or trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you notice:

  • Any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or drainage at the site. 

  • Numbness or tingling at or below the site.

  • Pain that isn’t going away.

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

Who to Call

UW Heart and Vascular Care Clinic

Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm

(608) 263-1530

After hours, your call will be sent to the paging operator. Ask for the cardiac (heart) doctor on call. Give your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.

Your visit with Dr. ____________________ could not be scheduled. The clinic will call you in the next few days. You should see this doctor in the next _____ weeks. If you do not hear from us in the next few days, call (608) 263-1530 to schedule your visit.

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.