In the hospital
After the procedure, you may be taken to the recovery room for observation or returned to your hospital room. You will remain flat in bed for several hours after the procedure. A nurse will monitor your vital signs, the insertion site, and circulation and sensation in the affected leg or arm.
Tell your nurse right away if you feel any chest pain or tightness, or any other pain, as well as any feelings of warmth, bleeding, or pain at the insertion site in your leg or arm.
Bed rest may vary from 2 to 6 hours depending on your specific condition. If your doctor placed a closure device, your bed rest may be of shorter duration.
In some cases, the sheath or introducer may be left in the insertion site. If so, your period of bed rest will be longer. After the sheath is removed, you may be given a light meal.
You may be given medicine for pain or discomfort related to the insertion site or having to lie flat and still for a prolonged period.
You will be encouraged to drink water and other fluids to help flush the contrast dye from your body.
You may feel the urge to urinate often because of the effects of the contrast dye and increased fluids. You will need to use a bedpan or urinal while on bed rest so that you don't bend your affected leg or arm.
You may resume your usual diet after the procedure, unless your doctor decides otherwise.
After the specified period of bed rest, you may get out of bed. The nurse will help you the first time you get up, and may check your blood pressure while you are lying in bed, sitting, and standing. Move slowly when getting up from the bed to avoid any dizziness from the long period of bed rest.
You will most likely spend the night in the hospital after your procedure. Depending on your condition and the results of your procedure, your stay may be longer. You will receive detailed instructions for your discharge and recovery period.
Once at home, watch the insertion site for bleeding, unusual pain, swelling, and discoloration or temperature change at or near the injection site. A small bruise is normal. If you notice a constant or large amount of blood at the site that cannot be contained with a small dressing, call your doctor.
If your doctor used a closure device for your insertion site, you will be given specific information about how to take care of the insertion site. There will be a small knot, or lump, under the skin at the injection site. This is normal. The knot should gradually disappear over a few weeks.
It will be important to keep the insertion site clean and dry. Your doctor will give you specific bathing instructions. Don't soak in a bathtub or hot tub, or go swimming until the skin has healed. This is to prevent infection.
Your doctor may advise you not to participate in any strenuous activities. Your doctor will tell you when you can return to work and resume normal activities.
Tell your doctor to report any of the following:
Fever or chills
Increased pain, redness, swelling, or bleeding or other drainage from the insertion site
Coolness, numbness or tingling, or other changes in the affected extremity
Chest pain or pressure, nausea or vomiting, profuse sweating, dizziness, or fainting
Swelling of the extremities or abdomen
Weight gain of over 3 pounds in one day
Your doctor may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.