Recovery After a Minimally Invasive Procedure

Follow these guidelines during your recovery at home after a minimally invasive heart procedure.


In the 24 hours following your procedure, drink an extra four or five glasses of fluid in addition to your normal fluid intake. This helps your body eliminate the dye that’s used in minimally invasive heart procedures. If you have fluid restrictions, make sure to discuss this with the nurse before you’re discharged.

You can resume normal activities, including driving, two days after your procedure — but listen to your body. If something is uncomfortable, don’t push yourself. Also, ask your doctor about any lifting restrictions (usually anything more than 3 pounds) which may be limited for a few more days.

Incision Care

Depending on your procedure, your incision will be on your upper leg or wrist. Your doctor will use one of the following methods to close the site where the catheter was inserted:

  • Angio-Seal® – A device made up of a small collagen sponge and a suture (stitch) that’s completely absorbed in 60 to 90 days. Angio-Seal is used to close upper-leg incisions.
  • Perclose® – A device used to place stitches in your femoral artery to close the incision.
  • Vasoseal® – A collagen plug that’s placed over an upper-leg incision. The device is completely absorbed in 45 days.
  • Radial artery compression – A compression device (a band) used to close a wrist incision.


Take the following precautions to protect your incision and prevent infection. Inspect the site daily, and:

  • Shower 24 hours after your procedure. Remove the Band-Aid (wrist) or bandage before showering, but leave the thin strips of tape (Steri-Strips) across the incision. Let them remain until they fall off on their own.
  • Clean the site gently with soap and water while you’re in the shower. Dry gently, and don’t apply any powders or lotions. Cover the site with a Band-Aid or dressing that covers the whole area.
  • Keep the site clean and dry to prevent infection. If the bandage or Band-Aid gets wet, replace it with a new one.
  • If you have an upper-leg incision, don’t take a bath or go in the pool for five days or until the wound is healed. If your incision is on your wrist, don’t soak the area for two days.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

We strongly encourage anyone who’s had a heart procedure to participate in our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, an outpatient program that helps you reduce heart disease risk factors. In fact, studies show that people who complete an outpatient rehab program after a minimally invasive procedure have fewer repeat heart problems. Talk to your doctor for a referral.

What to Watch For

It’s normal to have mild oozing from the incision. Soreness and tenderness may last a week, and possible bruising could last up to two weeks. If you have an upper-leg incision, it’s also normal to have a small lump (up to the size of a quarter) that can last up to six weeks.

You should call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Significant bleeding that doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of applying direct pressure.
  • Increased swelling of the area or unusual pain, numbness or tingling in the area along the limb.
  • Signs of infection, including redness, warmth to the touch, excessive drainage, poor healing, fever or chills.

Call 911 if you have:

  • Chest pain and shortness of breath that lasts more than 15 minutes and isn’t relieved with rest or nitroglycerine.
  • Heart palpitations that don’t stop after 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Severe weakness or you feel faint.