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After Radial Heart Catheterization

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

After radial heart catheterization

, your healthcare provider may give you specific instructions to follow while you heal. You will also need to care for the catheter site to prevent infection and help it heal.

What to expect after a radial heart catheterization:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

Seek care immediately if:

Call your cardiologist or doctor if:


You may need any of the following:

Apply firm, steady pressure if bleeding continues:

A small amount of bleeding from the catheter site is possible. Apply pressure with a clean gauze or towel for 5 to 10 minutes. Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if bleeding becomes heavy or does not stop.

Care for the catheter site:

Most bandages can be removed the day after your procedure. Gently clean the catheter site with soap and water. Do not rub the site. Do not take a bath, swim, or get in a hot tub until your healthcare provider says these are okay. If you need to cough, support the catheter site with your hand.


Rest for 1 or 2 days after your procedure. Slowly start to do more each day. Take walks around your house. Make a plan for rest during the day. Your provider will tell you when you can drive, go back to work, or do other activities. The following activity limits will help reduce pressure on your catheter site and prevent bleeding. Follow these guidelines for 1 week , or as directed:

Drink liquids as directed:

Drink extra liquids if contrast liquid was used during your procedure. Liquid will help flush the contrast out of your body. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Do not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after your procedure.

Healthy living tips:

The following are general healthy guidelines. If your chest pain is caused by a heart problem, your healthcare provider will give you specific guidelines to follow.

Go to cardiac rehabilitation (rehab), if directed:

Your cardiologist may recommend that you attend cardiac rehab. This is a program run by specialists who will help you safely strengthen your heart and reduce the risk for more heart disease. The plan includes exercise, relaxation, stress management, and heart-healthy nutrition. Healthcare providers will also check to make sure any medicines you are taking are working.

If you have a stent:

Follow up with your cardiologist or doctor as directed:

You may need more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.