Caring for Your Puncture Site
Keep the area around the puncture site dry for 48 hours after your procedure. Wear loosefitting clothing for a few days.
Avoid taking a shower or any activity in which the area may get wet. If the bandage gets wet, replace it with a dry one.
The bandage can be completely removed 72 hours (three days) after your procedure.
What to Watch for at Home
Call the office of the doctor who did your procedure right away if you notice:
- Develop a fever or if your temperature goes higher than 38°C (100.4°F)
- The puncture site starts to drain pus
Call 911 if you:
- Sudden, severe chest pain
- Weakness or numbness in any of your arms or legs
- Difficulty speaking and/or difficult or painful swallowing
- Vomiting, coughing or passing of blood
- A sudden increase in swelling or bruising around the puncture site
- Any sudden shortness of breath
- Strong feeling of cold or change of colour in your hand or foot
- Bleeding that does not slow down even after you press firmly on the site for several minutes
If you have to go to the emergency department, it is very important that you tell the emergency doctor or nurse that you recently had an ablation procedure. If you were given a wallet card, make sure they see it.
If there is a small amount of bleeding, lie down and apply pressure for several minutes to the area where the bleeding is coming from.
If the bleeding stops, remain quiet and keep the leg straight and still for two hours. If you are not sure about what you should do, call the Heart Institute Nursing Coordinator at 613-696-7000, press 0 and ask to speak with the Nurse Coordinator.
If there is a large amount of bleeding, or if the bleeding does not stop, call 911 immediately. Do not drive yourself to the hospital; do not have a family member drive you to the hospital. Lie down and continue to apply pressure to the puncture site until the ambulance arrives.
Mild pain around the puncture site will gradually go away after a few days. If your puncture site becomes more painful or starts to swell or become warm to the touch, call your doctor. If the doctor’s office is closed, call the Heart Institute Nursing Coordinator at 613-696-7000, press 0 and ask to speak with the Nurse Coordinator.
The full success of your procedure may not be seen for days, weeks or even months.
In the first few weeks after your procedure, you may have episodes of mild chest pain that worsen when you lie down or breathe in. These episodes will subside within a couple of weeks.
It is also common to continue to have episodes of arrhythmia for a few weeks, particularly after AF
ablation. In some cases, the arrhythmia may, in fact, get a bit worse before it gets better.
This does not mean the treatment has failed. It takes the heart two to three months to fully heal from this procedure. It is only then that the full success will be known.
During this time, if you have an episode of atrial fibrillation that causes severe symptoms, call 911 and let your electrophysiologist know.
If you have any questions about specific activities, make sure you ask your doctor.
If the puncture site is in your groin, try to limit the amount of stair climbing for a couple of days after your procedure—this will help with healing.
For 48 hours after the procedure, avoid lifting anything that weighs more than 10 pounds. If you have to sneeze or cough, try to apply pressure to the puncture site at the same time—this will reduce the risk of bleeding. The easiest way to apply pressure is to make a fist and place it firmly over the area.
If there has been no bleeding or other worrisome signs at the puncture site, you can return to your usual activities after a week. If you are not sure, contact the office of the doctor who performed your procedure.
Returning to Work
Before discharge, talk to your doctor about returning to work. If you have a job that involves mostly sitting, you will probably be able to go back to work within a few days. If your work is more active or involves heavy lifting, you may have to stay home a bit longer.
Do not drive or operate a motorized vehicle for at least two days following your procedure. Before discharge, be sure to talk to your doctor about when you can start driving again.