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Left Heart Catheterization
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A left heart catheterization is a procedure to look at your heart and its arteries. You may need this procedure if you have chest pain, heart disease, or your heart is not working as it should.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
- and any of the following:
- Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
- You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
- Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
- Weakness in an arm or leg
- Confusion or difficulty speaking
- Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss
Seek care immediately if:
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- The leg or arm used for your angiogram is numb, painful, or changes color.
- The bruise at your catheter site gets bigger or becomes swollen.
- Your wound does not stop bleeding even after you apply firm pressure for 15 minutes.
- You have weakness in an arm or leg.
- You become confused or have difficulty speaking.
- You have dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- Your catheter site is red, leaks pus, or smells bad.
- You have increasing pain at your catheter site.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Limit activity as directed:
- Avoid unnecessary stair climbing for 48 hours, if a catheter was put in your groin.
- Do not place pressure on your arm, hand, or wrist, if the catheter was placed in your wrist. Avoid pushing, pulling, or heavy lifting with that arm.
- If you need to cough, support the area where the catheter was inserted with your hand.
- Ask your healthcare provider how long you need to limit movement and avoid certain activities.
- You may feel like resting more after your procedure. Slowly start to do more each day. Rest when you feel it is needed.
Keep your bandage clean and dry:
Ask your healthcare provider when you can bathe and shower. Do not take baths or go in pools or hot tubs. Check your site every day for signs of infection such as swelling, redness, or pus.
Drink liquids as directed:
Liquids help flush the dye used for your procedure out of your body. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day, and which liquids to drink. Some foods, such as soup and fruit, also provide liquid.
Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours after your procedure. Then limit alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
Do not smoke:
Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can damage your blood vessels. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.