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patient education : 01035--ENDOcardial VT Ablation Discharge Instructions

Instructions for care after endocardial VT Ablations from the EP Lab

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    Discharge Instructions after Your Endocardial VT Ablation

    Hospital stay – You will spend one overnight in the hospital after an endocardial ablation. The medical and nursing team will monitor your vital signs and heart rhythm with telemetry overnight and help get you out of bed generally about 4 hours after your procedure

    Groin area – You have had catheters (tubes) in the large veins in your groin.

          Avoid any straining which could cause severe bleeding. For the next 2 days, do not lift, push, or pull anything heavier than 10 pounds, or a jug of milk. Avoid sex, driving, straining to have a bowel movement, or stair climbing for 2 days.

          Bruising, or discoloration of your groin area and upper thigh is normal as long as there is no swelling. It will gradually go away. You may feel a hard area the size of a nickel under the skin – this is the clot and is normal and will resolve. However, if you develop a firm, tender swelling at the site or the thigh becomes swollen and tender, notify your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. If you are bleeding, lie down, apply pressure with your hand for 10 minutes, and seek emergency care.

    Activity at home, driving, and work – After two days, you may walk for exercise.  Remember no straining.  You may drive after a week and return to work with light duty (no lifting more than 20 lbs) after 1-2 weeks. Avoid heavy lifting, more than 40 lbs for 4 weeks.

    Skin care – You may remove the dressing from your incision after 24 hours, and leave it open to air, or apply a bandaid if clothing irritates the area.

          You may shower after 24 hours. Pat the area dry and do not apply ointments. Do not go under water in a tub or pool for at least 48 hours or until healed. 

          Watch the area for infection – symptoms would include red puffiness, warmth at the site, drainage, increasing tenderness, and fever. Notify your doctor of symptoms of infection.

    Pain – You may have mild soreness or stiffness in the groin areas for 2 days. This should not limit your normal activity. You also may have soreness in your chest that gets worse when you cough or take a deep breath. This may indicate inflammation of the sack around your heart (pericarditis), and usually gets better with anti-inflammatory medicines (like ibuprofen).  If you experience this type of discomfort, call your doctor for instructions.

    Urinary Catheters – If you had a catheter in your bladder during the procedure, watch for symptoms of urinary tract infection such as painful urination, foul smelling or cloudy urine, pain in lower abdomen or flank areas, chills/fevers. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.

    Palpitations and medications – The heart tissue is initially irritated from the procedure. While the heart is healing over the next 3-6 weeks, you may notice palpitations (sensation of heart skipping or pounding). This is normal and will resolve slowly as the heart heals. For this reason you may be on an anti-arrhythmic medication for a couple of months after your ablation.

    Follow up with your doctor – You will see your EP doctor in about 4 weeks. If you do not receive an appointment notice in 2 weeks, please call 434-243-1000 to ask for a follow up appointment.

          See your regular doctor in a week or two after the procedure to check how you are doing.

          Call your doctor if you develop a fever or chills, any severe or unrelieved pain, bleeding or swelling in the groin areas, lightheadedness or shortness of breath, or other concerning symptoms.

          For urgent concerns after hours and weekends, call 434-924-0000 and ask for the EP doctor on call to be paged.

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