Cardiac catheterisation and coronary angiography

Recovering from cardiac catheterisation and coronary angiography

After having cardiac catheterisation and coronary angiography, your pulse and blood pressure will be checked and recorded.

If the catheter was inserted into your groin, a nurse may apply pressure for 5-10 minutes to stop the bleeding after the catheter and sheath have been removed from the artery.

Sometimes, the doctor carrying out the procedure will insert a small collagen plug at the puncture site, or use a special stitch or other closure device. In this case, it will not be necessary to press on the artery.

If the catheter was inserted into your arm, a small, pressurised cuff may be placed around your arm, and pressure will gradually be decreased over the course of several hours. A nurse will check whether there is any bleeding at the point where the catheter was inserted.

If the catheter was inserted into your arm, you should be able to sit up straightaway and you may be able to walk around soon afterwards.

If the catheter was inserted into your groin, you will be asked to lie flat after any bleeding has stopped. If all is well, you will be asked to sit up after a few hours and you should be able to get up and walk around shortly after.

You should tell the healthcare professionals treating you if you feel unwell at any time after the procedure.

Several hours after having cardiac catheterisation and coronary angiography, a family member or friend will be contacted and asked to collect you to take you home.

Most people feel fine a day or so after having the procedure. You may feel a bit tired, and the wound site is likely to be tender for up to a week. Any bruising may last for up to two weeks.

Self-help advice

The advice listed below may help with your recovery.

  • Avoid having a hot bath for three to four days until the wound site has healed. You can still take a shower.
  • Remove the plaster from your groin the day after the procedure. Gently clean the site with mild soap and water and dry it thoroughly before applying a new plaster. Change the plaster daily until your skin has healed.
  • Contact your GP if you experience any redness at the wound site that is warm to touch, or if you have a high temperature, rash, numbness or pain in your leg when walking.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours.
  • Avoid playing sport, excessive activity or lifting anything heavier than 5kg (11lb) for two to three days. Most people are back to their normal routine a few days after an angiogram and a week after insertion of stents.

Call your GP or NHS 24 on 0800 22 44 88 if you have concerns about your wound or your recovery in general.

Read more about caring for your wound.

Last updated: 15 May 2015