Discharge Instructions for Cardiac Ablation

You have had a procedure called cardiac ablation, which was used to treat an abnormal heartbeat or rhythm. This procedure destroyed (ablated) the cells in your heart that were causing your heart rhythm problem. During the procedure, a thin, flexible wire (called a catheter) was inserted into a blood vessel in your upper thigh and threaded up to the heart.

Home care

Recommendations for care at home include the following: 

  • No one can drive home from a procedure after having sedation. You will need to make arrangements for a ride. Healthcare providers typically advise that you not drive for 24 hours after the procedure.

  • Avoid heavy physical activity for several days after the procedure to allow your body to heal.

  • Ask your healthcare provider when you can expect to return to work.

  • Take your temperature and check your incision for signs of infection (redness, swelling, drainage, or warmth) every day for a week. It is normal to have a small bruise or lump where the catheter was inserted.

  • Take your medicines exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses. There may be changes to your medicines as a result of the ablation procedure, so be sure to go over your medicine instructions with your healthcare provider before you are discharged.

  • Learn to take your own pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your healthcare provider which readings mean that you need medical attention.

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects for a period of time after your ablation. Ask your healthcare provider for specific recommendations.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Redness, pain, swelling, bleeding, or drainage from your incision

  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness

  • Temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider 

  • Sudden coldness, pain, or numbness in the leg or arm with the insertion site

  • Nausea or vomiting

Note: Ask your healthcare provider what to expect about your heartbeat. Sometimes the irregularity goes away immediately after the procedure. Other times it may take longer to subside.


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