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Tips for a Good Recovery After Your Cardiac Catheterization

Installing a pacemaker, replacing a valve, diagnosing heart disease — these are just some of the uses of cardiac catheterizations, which are among the most performed cardiac procedures in the United States — about 1 million per year.

If you’re scheduled for a cardiac catheterization with board-certified cardiology specialist Dr. James Kim, we want you to know you’re in very good hands. While we certainly have our end assured, you want to know what to expect after this procedure and how you can help make the recovery go as smoothly as possible.

Cardiac catheterizations — a minimal approach to diagnosing and improving heart function

Cardiac catheterizations are amazing procedures that allow us to perform a number of potentially life-saving tests and improvements through your blood vessels. More specifically, we thread a catheter through a vein or artery that leads to your heart, often through your groin, neck, or arm.

We can insert specialized tools through the catheter and use them to collect samples,  conduct tests, or make improvements in the function of your heart, such as installing a pacemaker or replacing a diseased valve.

We’re not going to get into everything that we can accomplish through a cardiac catheterization — we’re sure you understand what yours entails. Instead, our goal is to underscore the point that this is a minimally invasive procedure, and recovery shouldn’t be a long and arduous road.

Tips to ease recovery

Minimally invasive though it may be, there are still some tips that we’d like you to keep in mind after your cardiac catheterization, such as:

Following instructions

Whether we send you home on the same day or after a day or two in the hospital, we do so with complete aftercare instructions, and we want you to follow them to the letter. 

Taking your medications

In many cases, we prescribe medications like blood thinners to prevent clots after your cardiac catheterization, so please take these diligently.

Minding your incision site

Your incision site is very small so there isn’t a lot that you need to do. You can remove the bandage that you came home with and place an adhesive bandage over the site, taking care to keep it clean. You might have some soreness and bruising around the site for a few days.

We also ask that you avoid immersing yourself in water — no pools, tubs, or hot tubs for about a week after your cardiac catheterization.

Watching constipation

If you typically have issues with constipation, be mindful to stay one step ahead of that. If we used a blood vessel in your groin to perform the cardiac catheterization, straining on the toilet can make the incision uncomfortable and bleed.

Avoiding heavy lifting

We also want you to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities for a few days, maybe even a week. 

Rest assured that we’re with you every step of the way, and we’re just a phone call away.

If you want more information about your recovery from a cardiac catheterization, feel free to contact us at one of our offices in Chula Vista or National City, California.

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