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What to Expect: After Catheterization

These instructions have been developed specifically for use by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (Connecticut Children’s) patients under the supervision of a pediatric cardiologist as part of an active treatment plan, and are made available for informational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice and are not a replacement for professional medical judgment or care.

All instructions will be reviewed with you/your child before you are discharged from the hospital.

Activities and Restrictions

  • Encourage fluids. You/your child may resume a regular diet.
  • You/your child should not strain, lift heavy objects, or participate in contact sports for one week, in order to protect the catheter site.
  • After one week, you/your child may resume regular activities unless instructed otherwise.
  • If you/your child has had a device placement, you/your child should restrain from contact sports, gym, bicycle riding, and trampolines for 4-6 weeks.
  • You/your child may return to school/day care when ready—usually 2-3 days after the procedure.
  • You/your child should climb stairs slowly at the start.
  • If you/your child is of driving age, do not drive until the catheter size is healed and there is no pain (typically 24 hours).

Catheter Site Care

  • If you/your child is discharged the same day as the procedure, the bandages will be left on. These bandages can be removed the following morning. We recommend you take them off as soon as you/your child wakes up.
  • Keep the catheter site clean and dry until healed, usually 4-5 days. You/your child may take short showers or sponge baths. The site should not be submerged under water until 4-5 days after the procedure (no submerged baths, pool, swimming, Jacuzzi).
  • Do not apply any ointments, lotions, or creams to the catheter sites.
  • It is common to have a small bruise or lump at the catheter site. If it is a bruise, this should resolve over the next 5-7 days. The bruising should not spread upward from the catheterization site onto the abdomen.
  • Monitor the site for redness, drainage, swelling, or severe pain.

Medications

  • Pain medication: mild discomfort can be relieved with TYLENOL® or MOTRIN®. If the pain is not relieved by these forms, please call our office.
  • If you/your child had a device placed (ASD, PDA, stent device), Aspirin may have been started. You will be instructed by the catheterization lab staff before discharge.
  • If you/your child had a device placed, you may be instructed that antibiotics will be needed over the first 6 months for any visit to the dentist/other surgeries. You should tell the other doctor that a procedure has been performed, and contact Cardiology if there are any questions.

When to Call the Pediatric Cardiology Office

  • Any signs of infection, fever, trouble breathing, redness or discharge at the catheterization site
  • Irregular heartbeats, nausea, or vomiting
  • Pain not relieved by TYLENOL® or MOTRIN®
  • Swelling or a large bruise at the catheter site

If any of the above symptoms occur, contact Connecticut Children’s Pediatric Cardiology office immediately at 860.545.9400.

If you feel that your child is experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit an ER. 

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