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Heart Disease Health Center

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Cardiac Catheterization

How It Is Done continued...

If the catheter was put in your groin, you may have to lie in bed with your leg extended for several hours (such as 1 to 4 hours). This depends on what procedure was used and your medical condition. After that, you can move around freely.

If the catheter was put in your arm, you may be able to sit up and get out of bed right away. But you will need to keep your arm still for at least 1 hour.

A child who has had cardiac catheterization may need to be held by a parent for several hours after the test. This is to prevent the child from moving his or her leg.

You should drink plenty of liquids for several hours after the test. This will prevent dehydration. And it will help flush the contrast material out of your body.

Depending on the results of the test, you may be sent home either after being observed for a short time (such as 6 hours) or the next day. If you got any stitches in your arm, they may be removed in 5 to 7 days. Do not do strenuous exercise or lift anything heavy until your doctor says it is okay. This may be for a day or two.

If you are breast-feeding and had an angiogram in which dye was put into your body, use formula for 2 days after this test. Discard the breast milk you pump for 2 days after the test.

How It Feels

You will feel a sharp sting when you get the shot of local anesthetic to numb your skin where the catheter goes in. When the catheter is put in, you may feel a brief, sharp pain.

The movement of the catheter through your blood vessel may cause a feeling of pressure, but it is not usually painful. People often have skipped heartbeats for a few seconds when the catheter touches the walls of the heart.

If a dye (contrast material) is injected, you may feel warm and flushed. You may have a metallic taste in your mouth. Some people feel sick to their stomach or have a headache. You also may feel nauseated or lightheaded, have chest pain or pressure, irregular heartbeats, an urge to cough, mild itching, or hives from the contrast material. If you have any of these symptoms, tell your doctor how you feel.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 26, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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