Atrial fibrillation ablation discharge instructions (patient information)
Atrial fibrillation ablation discharge instructions
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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. ; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Mohammed A. Sbeih, M.D. 
You may have been in the hospital because you have atrial fibrillation. When you have atrial fibrillation, your heart beats in an irregular way, usually faster than normal. You may have also developed this problem while you were in the hospital for a heart attack, heart surgery, or other illness such as pneumonia. You may have received any of these treatments:
- Cardioversion or electric shock to change the beat of your heart back to normal.
- Cardiac ablation.
When could I drive after the procedure?
You should not drive for 48 hours after the procedure.
What medications should I take after the procedure?
Have all of your prescriptions filled before you go home. You should take your drugs the way your doctor and nurse have told you to. Go back to taking any medicine you were on before, unless your doctor has told you otherwise. Be sure your doctor knows about everything you are taking, including prescription medicines, non-prescription medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements.
You may have been given medicines to change your heartbeat or to slow it down. Some are:
- Beta blockers, such as metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL) or atenolol (Senormin, Tenormin).
- Antiarrhythmics, such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone) or sotalol (Betapace).
- Medicines that help prevent or treat heart rhythms.
You may be taking aspirin or clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, or another blood thinner to help keep your blood from clotting. See also:
- Aspirin and heart disease.
- Clopidogrel (Plavix).
- Taking warfarin (Coumadin).
If you are taking warfarin:
- You will need to have extra blood tests to make sure your dose is correct.
- You need to watch for any bleeding or bruising, and let your doctor or nurse know if it happens.
- Your dentist, doctors, and pharmacist should all know you take this medicine.
Should I take any OTC pain medications?
You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) every six hours as needed for pain in the area where the catheter was placed. If pain is not relieved with acetaminophen, contact your doctor. Please be sure you are not taking more than one product containing acetaminophen, and don’t take more Tylenol than what is recommended on the label.
When may I resume my regular activities?
One week after the procedure, you may resume your regular activities, including sexual activity. For at least one week, you should not lift, push, or pull anything heavier than 10 pounds or do any exercise that causes you to hold your breath and bear down with your abdominal muscles.
When should I bathe or swim?
You may remove the Band-aid over your puncture site and shower the day after the procedure.
When can I go back to work?
Ask your doctor when you may go back to work. This will depend on the type of work you do.
Make an appointment to see your doctor within one month.
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your 911 if you feel:
- Pain, pressure, tightness, or heaviness in your chest, arm, neck, or jaw.
- Shortness of breath.
- Gas pains or indigestion.
- Sweaty, or if you lose color.
- Fast heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, or your heart is pounding uncomfortably.
- Numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg.
- Blurry or decreased vision.
- Problems speaking or understanding speech.
- Dizziness, loss of balance, or falling.
- Severe headache.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000237.htm CME Category::Cardiology