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How can I help prevent bleeding after cardiac catheterization?

Bernard J. Staller, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
After cardiac catheterization, here are some steps to reduce the risk of bleeding from the site where the catheter was inserted. If bleeding occurs, you may see it right away. But bleeding also can also occur under the skin where you may not see or notice it.

You may be in bed for several hours after cardiac catheterization. To help prevent bleeding:
  • Do not lift your head off the pillow.
  • Do not raise the head of your bed up. Your nurse will do that for you.
  • Do not bend or move the leg that had the catheter. Pressure will be applied.
  • You may move or bend the leg that was not used.
  • If you need to cough, place your hand over your groin and press firmly until you finish coughing.
  • You will be asked to drink fluids to help clear the "contrast" (used to be called "dye") from your body.
  • You will not be allowed to get up to use the bathroom. Your nurse will help you with the bedpan or urinal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.