Cardiac Catheterization: Care at Home (Adult)

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You have had a cardiac catheterization (“cardiac cath”). At the end of the procedure, one of these methods was used to stop the bleeding from the cath site:

  • Holding pressure: Pressure is put on the site to stop bleeding until a clot forms.
  • Perclose: A stitch is placed in the artery or vein under the skin to prevent bleeding.
  • Safe-Guard dressing: This dressing uses air to hold pressure at the cath site. It should be deflated prior to discharge and remain deflated.
  • Hem-Con patch: This patch will help to prevent bleeding. It will have gauze and clear tape over the patch.

The Day of the Procedure

You will feel sleepy from the anesthesia or sedation medicine for a few hours after the procedure. Limit your activities for the rest of the day.

  • No driving, bicycling or operating machinery.
  • No products (drinks or food) that contain caffeine or alcohol.
  • No smoking, chewing tobacco or taking any form of nicotine for at least 24 hours after the procedure.

Care of the Cath Site

You may have some soreness at the cath site for about one week. Bruising can last for 2 weeks. If there is a lump under the skin (hematoma), it can last for up to 6 weeks.

  • Remove the dressing after 24 hours. You may apply a Band-Aid® daily for 1 to 2 days.
  • Keep the site clean and dry. Wash gently with mild soap and water.
  • No tub baths, swimming pools or hot tubs for 3 days. You may take a shower or sponge bath.


You may resume your normal activity 48 hours after the procedure unless the cardiologist or cardiology nurse practitioner tells you otherwise.

When to Call the Cardiologist

Call your cardiologist if one or more of these things occurs:

Call your cardiologist if one or more of these things occurs:

  • You have an oral temperature higher than 101.5 degrees F for 24 hours. (If coils were placed, you can expect to have a fever for the first 24 hours). You may take Tylenol® (acetaminophen) or Advil® or Motrin® (ibuprofen) for fever.
  • If you have bleeding or oozing of blood from the cath site, you should lie flat. Apply pressure for 20 minutes. If the bleeding cannot be controlled with pressure, call 911.
  • You have increased swelling, or a new lump develops at the cath site.
  • You feel pain, numbness, tingling, coolness, or loss of feeling, or there is a change in color or temperature in one leg compared to the other leg.
  • There is redness, swelling, drainage or warmth at the cath site.
  • If you feel chest pain, especially after ASD or PFO devices have been placed in the heart. Chest pain may be expected after some procedures, like angioplasty or placement of a coil or stent. However, an echocardiogram may be needed to rule out fluid around the heart.
  • Call 614-722-2530 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with questions following your cath procedure.
  • After hours, on weekends and on holidays, please call 614-722-2000 and ask for the cardiology fellow on call.

Cardiac Catheterization: Care at Home (Adult) (PDF)

 HH-III-116             11/07, Revised 07/19 | Copyright 2007, Nationwide Children’s Hospital