Penn Heart and Vascular

Heart and Vascular Patient Information

What to Expect
Interventional Cardiac Procedures

This information is designed to provide you with an overview of what to expect before, during, and after your interventional cardiac procedure. It should serve only as a guide, as treatment will vary for each patient. A nurse will review specific instructions with you before your procedure.

The Night Before Your Procedure

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure, except sips of water with medication.

A member of our staff will contact you at home the evening before your appointment to review pre-procedure preparation. It is crucial you follow all instructions to ensure accurate test results.

You will be asked the following questions, some of which may be repetitive, but help to ensure your safety:

  • What medications are you taking? If not known, be sure to bring all of them with you to the hospital.
  • When and where was your most recent catheterization? We will pull the records if performed at either the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center or Pennsylvania Hospital.
  • Do you have any allergies, particularly to contrast media, latex or shellfish? This includes contrast dyes used in various X-rays.
  • Have you had a blood test? If so, when and where? You may be asked to bring a copy of the blood test with you.
The Day of Your Procedure
Before Your Procedure
  • Depending on your situation, it may be necessary to repeat your blood work prior to your procedure.
  • An intravenous (IV) line will be placed.
  • Medication to relax you may be ordered upon your arrival to the catheterization laboratory.
  • There are no restrictions on activity unless otherwise instructed.
During Your Procedure
  • Your procedure will be performed in the catheteriza­tion laboratory and a staff member will be with you throughout the procedure.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and EKG patches on your skin to monitor your heartbeat.
  • An oxygen sensor will be placed on your finger to monitor you for sedation.
  • You will be covered from chin to toe with a sterile blanket.
  • Your groin or arm area will be prepped and cleansed with an antibacterial agent.
  • Your doctor will insert a catheter (small tube) into your groin or arm and contrast dye will be injected through the catheter to visualize your heart arteries.
  • The procedure will last 45 to 60 minutes. Upon completion, the catheter in your groin or arm will be sutured and a sterile dressing will be applied.
  • IV fluids and sedation will be administered.
  • You will be required to lie still during the procedure.
  • Report any discomfort you may have to your nurse. At the end of your procedure, your doctor will discuss the results with you.
Post Procedure (0-12 Hours)
  • After the procedure is completed, you will be escorted to a special monitoring unit.
  • If you qualify for an arterial closure device, the catheter will be removed immediately after your procedure. Otherwise, the catheter may remain in your groin or arm until the blood thinners are cleared from your system. The catheter will then be removed from your groin or arm and pressure will be applied to the area.
  • You will be required to lie in bed for a short period of time. Your nurse will frequently check your blood pressure, pulse, and groin or arm.
  • IV fluids will continue to be administered, if necessary.
  • Medication to help you relax may be administered, if necessary.
  • If you were instructed earlier not to take your morning medications, you may be able to do so after the procedure.
  • You will be given a light meal and plenty of water to drink.
  • You will be required to lie in bed with limited movement of your arm or leg immediately after your procedure. You may be required to lie flat in bed for a short period of time.
  • If your procedure was performed through the groin, you cannot bend the affected leg, as bleeding can occur if bent. The nurse will instruct you on your range of motion.
  • Report any pain, warmth, wetness and/or bleeding around the groin or arm area to your nurse immediately.
Post Procedure (12-24 Hours)
  • The nurse will frequently check your blood pressure, pulse, and dressing applied to the groin or arm area.
  • You will begin to sit up slowly, put your legs off to the side of the bed to avoid dizziness, and walk slowly with assistance from the nurse. IV fluids will continue to be administered, if necessary.
  • Medication will be prescribed by your doctor, if necessary.
  • You will be given plenty of water to drink and can resume your normal diet.
  • You can get out of bed and move to a chair, and walk with assistance from a nurse.
  • Notify the nurse if you feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Before You Leave the Hospital
  • A nurse will review prescribed medications and discharge instructions with you.
  • IV fluids will be discontinued and the IV line will be removed.
  • Discharge medication may be prescribed by your doctor, if necessary.
  • You will be able to leave the hospital after receiving discharge instructions. However, you must arrange for someone to drive you home. To allow the insertion site time to heal, do not drive, push, pull or lift anything for 48 hours.
  • If the site begins to bleed, lie down and apply manual pressure immediately; if bleeding does not stop in five minutes, go to the nearest emergency room. If continuous numbness and/or tingling occur in your leg or you have chills or a fever of 100.6°F, please notify your doctor immediately.