What happens after the heart cath procedure?

Dr. and patient with stethoscope

Outpatient Procedures

The child will be returned to the pre/post cath area. When the cath is complete, the catheter(s) will be taken out and one of the staff will press on the leg for about 10 minutes so that the vein and artery will start healing. A dressing or small bandage will be applied to prevent bleeding. There are no stitches. If blood vessels in the leg were used, the child will be told to keep the leg straight for a few hours after the procedure to minimize the chance of bleeding at the cath site.

The child will then be taken back to the pre/post cath area where he will be monitored by nursing staff for several hours after the test. The length of time it takes for the child to wake up after the procedure will depend on the type of medicine given to the child for relaxation prior to the test, and also on the child’s reaction to the medicine.

After the test, the’ nurse will monitor the pulses and skin temperature in the leg or arm that was used for the procedure as well as his temperature, pulse, respirations and blood pressure.

The child may be able to go home after a specified period of time, providing he does not need further treatment or monitoring. Parents will receive written instructions regarding care of the cath site, bathing, activity restrictions and any new medications thechild may need to take at home.

Depending on the results of the cardiac cath test, additional tests or procedures may be scheduled to gather further diagnostic information.

Inpatient Procedures

The child will be returned to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit or the Cardiac Step-Down Unit. When the cath is complete, the catheter(s) may be left in place if they are needed to give the child medications, intravenous (I.V.) fluid or for temporary heart pacing.If they are no longer needed, they will be removed and a gauze bandage applied (see above).

The child will be taken to his patient room after the procedure and the nurse will monitor the pulses and skin temperature in the leg or arm used for the procedure, as well as his temperature, pulse, respirations and blood pressure. The doctors will communicate to the parents how the child is doing after the procedure and provide them with a brief summary of the results. However, it may take some time for the entire group of doctors that care for the child to review and discuss the results of the catheterization and develop a plan for the child’s continued care.They will communicate this detailed information to the parents as soon as possible.