Instructions for going home after your procedure
You may be able to go home the same day as your procedure. Otherwise, you will spend the night in the hospital and go home the next day.
- If you live more than 2 hours away, we suggest you stay the night with a family member or friend in a local hotel. Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Concierge can help you make arrangements, if needed.
- During your trip home, stop every hour and walk for 5 to 10 minutes. If you are traveling by plane, stand up and walk in the aisle at least once every hour.
- If you have any questions about your ride home, please ask a member of your healthcare team.
Care for the Catheter Insertion Site
Interventional procedures may be performed in the femoral artery in the groin (in the area at the top of your thigh) or in the radial artery in your arm. You will have a bandage (dressing) over the catheter insertion/wound site.
- You can take this dressing off the morning after the procedure. The easiest way to remove it is by wetting the tape first, while showering.
- Place an adhesive bandage over the area. It is normal for the wound site to be black and blue for a couple of days. You may also notice that it looks pink and swollen, and there may be a small lump (about the size of a quarter) at the site.
- Wash the site at least once each day. Put soap on your hand or a washcloth and gently cleanse and rinse the area. Do not rub the area.
- Keep the area clean and dry, except when showering.
- Do not use creams, lotions or ointment on the wound site.
- Wear clothing that fits loosely over the wound site.
- Do not take a bath, soak in any kind of water or swim for one week after the procedure.
Your doctor will tell you when you can get back to your normal routine. You will need to take it easy for the first two days after you are home. Expect to feel tired and weak the day after the procedure. Stand up slowly to avoid getting dizzy. Take walks around your house and plan to rest during the day.
If your incision is in your groin
- Do not strain during bowel movements for 3 to 4 days after the procedure. This helps to prevent bleeding from the catheter insertion site.
- Do not lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds or push or pull heavy objects for the first 5 to 7 days after the procedure.
- Do not do anything strenuous for 5 days after the procedure. This includes most sports - jogging, golfing, play tennis, and bowling.
- Go up and down the stairs more slowly than usual.
- Slowly start to do more during the week after the procedure, when you should be back to your normal routine.
- Ask your doctor when it is safe to resume sexual activity.
If you had a transradial (wrist) procedure
- Do not move the wrist used in the procedure more than you need to for 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.
- Put soap on your hand or a washcloth and gently cleanse and rinse the area. Do not rub the area.
- Do not do anything strenuous for 24 hours. This includes most sports - jogging, golfing, play tennis, and bowling.
- Do not use a lawn mower, motorcycle, chainsaw or all-terrain vehicle for 48 hours.
- Do not take a bath or hold your affected wrist under water for 48 hours after the procedure. It is ok to take a shower the day after your procedure.
- Expect to feel mild tingling in your hand and tenderness at the insertion site for up to 3 days. If this lasts longer than 3 days or you have other non-emergency symptoms, call your doctor.
If your wrist bleeds once you are home, do not panic. Follow these steps to control the bleeding:
- Wash your hands and place 1 or 2 fingers over the puncture site. Keep pressure on the site to stop the bleeding. You may be able to feel your pulse as you do this.
- After 5 minutes, remove your fingers from the site to see if the bleeding has stopped.
- Once the bleeding has stopped, gently wipe the area clean and cover it with a bandage.
If the bleeding does not stop after 20 minutes, or if there is a large amount of bleeding or spurting, call 911 (DO NOT drive yourself to the hospital).
- Please review your medications with your doctor before you go home. Ask your doctor if you should continue taking the medications you were taking before the procedure.
- If you had a percutaneous intervention (PCI), you will need to take an antiplatelet medication. There are several types of this medication. The most common medications used are clopidogrel (Plavix), prasugrel (Effient) and ticagrelor (Brilinta). Ask your doctor if you have any questions about this medication. Before you go home, we will make sure you have enough of this medication to last 30 days. You will also get a prescription for a 90-day supply of medication. Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your cardiologist.
- If you have diabetes, your doctor may adjust your diabetes medications for one to two days after your procedure. You may need to stop taking Glucophage (metformin hydrochloride) or Glucovance for 48 hours after the procedure to reduce the risk of kidney problems. Please ask your doctor if you need to make any changes to your diabetes medications.
- Depending on the results of your procedure, your doctor may prescribe new medication. Please make sure you understand what medications you should be taking and how often to take them.
Be sure to drink eight to ten glasses of clear fluids (water is best) to flush the contrast material from your system.
Importance of a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
It is important to commit to living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Your health care team can help you achieve your goals, but it is up to you to take your medications as prescribed, make changes in your diet, quit smoking, exercise regularly, keep your follow-up appointments.
Please ask your doctor or nurse about finding and enrolling in a cardiac rehab program that is right for you. Your rehab team will help you set goals and stay committed to living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Cardiac rehab is covered by most insurance companies for patients after a heart attack.
- Finding a Cleveland Clinic cardiac rehabilitation program. If you are not from the Cleveland area, ask your local doctor for a program near you.
- How to get started on your cardiac rehab program.
We will contact your referring or primary care doctor to share the results of your procedure. Please call your primary care doctor as soon as possible after you get home. He or she may want to see you within the first week you are home.
We will send a written report to your doctor that will include a general summary of your medical condition including the procedure you underwent, prescribed medications and care plan.
Please ask your doctor if you have any questions about cardiac catheterization, angioplasty or stenting.
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When to call the doctor
Call your Cleveland Clinic doctor or your local doctor if you have:
- Pus-like drainage, redness or unusual warmth at the catheter insertion site.
- Feelings of coldness, numbness, tingling or excessive swelling on the leg or arm of the catheter insertion site.
- A lump at the insertion site: Golf ball-sized at the groin or grape-sized at the wrist.
- Extreme pain or swelling at the catheter insertion site.
- Signs of infection: Redness, warmth, drainage at the wound site or a fever (temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Chest discomfort, excessive shortness of breath, dizziness or irregular heartbeats while you are active that last longer than 20 minutes or return on a regular basis.
- Questions about your procedure, medications, follow-up schedule or treatment plan.
When to Call 911
Go to your local emergency department, Cleveland Clinic Emergency Department, or call 911 if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain or discomfort (angina-like) that lasts for 5 minutes and does not go away after you rest or take medication. The pain may go away and come back again. It may also feel like a heaviness, tightness, pressure, aching, burning, numbness, fullness or squeezing. Sometimes the feeling is similar to indigestion or heartburn. If you have a prescription for nitroglycerin and have these symptoms, place a tablet/spray once under your tongue and wait 5 minutes. If the angina continues, call 911. If you have chronic stable angina and still have symptoms after taking your nitro and waiting 5 minutes, take another tablet. You can take up to 3 tablets (1 every 5 minutes, for 15 minutes). If you still have angina after 15 minutes, call 911.
- Bleeding from the catheter insertion site that doesn’t stop after 20 minutes. Bleeding is rare, but if it does happen, take off the dressing and apply pressure on the insertion site with a clean compress (clean gauze, wash cloth). If the catheter was inserted into your arm/wrist, keep your arm straight and raised above heart-level while you apply pressure. If the catheter was inserted into your groin, lie down and apply pressure to the site. Call 911 if the bleeding doesn’t stop after 20 minutes.
- Fast heart rate - more than 120 beats per minute, especially if you are short of breath.
- New abnormal heartbeat.
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath NOT relieved by rest.
- Sudden numbness or weakness in arms or legs.
- Fainting spells.
- Pain or discomfort in your arm(s), left shoulder, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Sweating or a “cold sweat”.
- Feeling full. This can feel like indigestion or heartburn. You may feel like you’re choking.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Feeling light-headed, dizzy, very weak or anxious.
If you have any questions or concerns when you go home, you will be provided a phone number before you leave the hospital. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and concerns.