After your procedure, you will be taken back to the unit where you will remain overnight. You will be on bed rest for the next four to six hours. You will need to lie on your back with your head on a pillow and your affected leg straight. You will be reminded to do these things to reduce the risk of bleeding at the puncture site. After two hours, you will be permitted to turn on your side with help from the nurse. If you are having any discomfort in your back or elsewhere, let the nurse know. If you are feeling nauseated or that you might throw up, let the nurse know. If you feel chilled, the nurse will provide you with warmed blankets.
You might be wearing an oxygen mask when you wake up. This will be removed once you are fully awake and breathing well. Also, there might be a tube in your bladder to drain the urine. Once you are off bed rest and able to sit up, the tube will be removed. You will have an IV line; this will remain in place until the next morning.
You may feel some numbness or tingling in your affected leg. This is normal and should disappear by the time you are ready to be discharged.
A certain amount of bruising, discolouration, stiffness or soreness in your affected limb is expected. A small bruise or lump is normal and will go away on its own. You are more likely to experience bruising if you were on a blood thinner before your procedure. However, if you notice any swelling or bleeding at the puncture site, it is important that you call the nurse.
Once you are awake, you will be able to have a light snack and something to drink. It is important to drink fluids as soon as you are able. After a long procedure and a long time being on bed rest, you may feel dizzy or faint when you stand up and start walking around. Drinking fluids and having a small snack will reduce the risk of this happening.
Throughout the night, the nurse will continue to monitor your condition and assist you as needed. The next morning, after some follow-up testing, you will probably be discharged.
Discharge & Follow-Up Care After Your Complex Ablation
You must not drive yourself home. Make sure you arrange to be driven home by a relative or friend. If this is not possible, taking a taxi may be OK if approved by your doctor.
Before you are discharged, your doctor and nurse will go over the procedure and next steps with you. If you had AF ablation, you will be given a small card (pictured below) and instructed to show it to any doctors you see in the first few months following your procedure.
The nurse will tell you how to take care of your puncture site and discuss any changes in your medications. This will also be a good time to talk about returning to work and when you can drive again.
Before you leave, you will need your IV line removed and you may require a prescription to take to your pharmacist.