OK, so you’re coming into hospital for a cardiac catheter. You will want to know what is going to happen during your stay on the ward.
This guide will provide general information about cardiac catheters. There are many different reasons for this intervention ranging from a diagnostic catheter to coil occlusions and insertion of amplatz devices. Most of the care given is the same but some parts of the treatment may differ, your nurse will tell you exactly what will happen to you.
If you are staying in hospital, even for the day, the nurses will have to “admit” you. This is where a couple of forms have to be filled in, just asking about yourself, nothing too taxing!
Your blood pressure, pulse, respiration rate and temperature will be recorded by the nurse. Your height and weight will also be measured and recorded. The ward doctor will ask you a few questions regarding your past and present health and about any medicines you may be taking and also perform a quick examination e.g listen to your heart etc.
You will need to “fast” (nothing to eat or drink) before your procedure. It is really important to make sure your tummy is empty before having an anaesthetic (sometimes called a ‘special sleep’). If you don’t you may become unwell when they give you your anaesthetic medicine. The nurse will tell you the time you need to stop eating and drinking. If you are having a general anaesthetic during the cardiac catheter procedure, you will be seen by an anaesthetist. This is a specially trained doctor who gives you the medicine to put you off to sleep. You may be prescribed a pre-med to make you feel relaxed before you go for your procedure. The nurse may put some local anaesthetic cream on the back of your hands to numb the skin in case you need a drip.
Transfer to catheter lab. Someone from the catheter labs will come with a trolley to take you. Your nurse will come with you and stay with you until you are asleep. Most of our anaesthetists allow parents to stay with you until you are asleep.
When your procedure is over, you are taken round to the recovery area. You will probably be starting to wake up but may still feel a bit sleepy. The ward nurse will come and collect you, maybe with your parent/s, and take you back to the ward. Once settled back on the ward you will have to stay in bed. The nurse will have to do regular observations similar to before, every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours then becoming less frequent. This is just to make sure you are ok after your catheter, so don’t be worried! You can watch TV or have a sleep if you want to. When you are awake you can have a drink and a bit later, something to eat.
The medical staff will review you either later the same day or the next morning, after this you should be able to go home. The nurse will give you discharge information and any medicines you may need to take home. You will be given a letter to hand in at your GP’s surgery and an outpatients appointment may be arranged and sent to you via post.