This procedure is done to observe blood flow to the heart and check how well the heart is pumping. During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into an artery or vein in the arm or leg. It is then advanced into the chambers of the heart or into the coronary arteries. After this procedure, the nurse has to provide care to the patient to prevent complications and to monitor his response to the procedure.

Apply pressure to the incision site for about thirty minutes manually or with a mechanical compression device. Dress the wound with adhesive bandages or clear occlusive dressing (for pressure). Do this to protect the area and permit visualization of the wound. This type of dressing will allow the nurse see any bleeding that occurs and so that she can take appropriate action.

Take your patients vital signs every 15 minutes for two hours after the procedure, then every 30 minutes for two hours and then every hour for another two hours. If there are no complications like bleeding after this, then check his vital signs every four hours. If your patients vital signs are unstable after a cardiac catheterization, monitor him every 5 minutes and notify his physician.

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Ensure your patient is on bed rest for 8 hours after this procedure. If the catheter was inserted through his femoral artery (found in the thigh), keep your patients leg extended for 6 to 8 hours. If its was passed through his arm, then keep it extended for at least 3 hours.

Check your patients circulatory system below the puncture site. Assess your patients color, skin temperature and pulses below the site of catheter insertion. If he underwent a cardiac catheterization through the arm, the arm may be cool to the touch and have weak pulses. This condition typically resolves itself within 24 hours.

Schedule an electrocardiograph (ECG) after the cardiac catheterization procedure to check for damage to the heart.

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