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patient education : 01036--EPIcardial VT Ablation Discharge Instructions

Instructions for care after epicardial VT Ablations from the EP Lab

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    Discharge Instructions after Your Epicardial VT Ablation

    Hospital stay – You will spend three overnights in the hospital, including the first night after your procedure in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit (CCU). You will be monitored as you recover from general anesthesia, will have a chest tube for the first 12-24 hours, and be able to get up out of bed and eat the following day.

    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 resume walking for exercise and activity that does not cause straining. You may drive after two weeks and return to work with light duty (lifting no more than
    20 lbs) after 2 weeks. Avoid heavy lifting, more than 40 lbs, for 4 weeks.

    Skin care – You will have a small dressing over your incision below your breastbone. Leave this dressing in place and do not get it wet for two days.

          By the time you go home, you will be able to shower over the area, washing with soap and water, patting the area dry, and leaving it open to air to heal. 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 – While you are in the hospital, you may have some sharp chest pain especially with a deep breath , cough, or bending over. The heart and its lining are irritated from the procedure – this is called pericarditis. It is important to fully expand your lungs for your recovery. Use your incentive spirometer every 2 hours and get out of bed and moving around several times a day as quickly as possible. To do this, you may need to take pain medication while you are in the hospital. Once you are home, you may continue to have some of this pain for several days. Mild analgesic or anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed. Call your doctor for instructions about worse pain.

    Urinary catheters – If you had a urinary catheter in your bladder during the procedure, observe for symptoms of urinary tract infection such as painful urination, foul smelling or cloudy urine, pain in lower abdomen or flank areas, chills/fevers and notify your doctor promptly of 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 and TCV Surgeon in about 4 weeks. If you do not receive appointment notices in 2 weeks, please call 434-243-1000 to request follow up appointments.

          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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