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HealthSheets™

After Catheter Ablation

After your catheter ablation procedure, you’ll be taken to a recovery room. You may need to lie flat for 2 to 6 hours while the insertion sites close up. During this time you’ll be monitored by a nurse. You may go home later that day. Or, you may stay in the hospital overnight.

Medical assistant taking a man's pulse.

Going Home

When it’s time to go home, have an adult family member or friend drive you. Most people can walk, climb stairs, and perform light activity soon after catheter ablation. You can most likely return to your full routine within a few days. But you may be told to avoid running, heavy lifting, and other strenuous activities for a short time.

Follow-Up

You’ll have a follow-up visit to go over the results of your catheter ablation. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you can stop taking heart rhythm medications. In many cases, one ablation is enough to treat an arrhythmia. But sometimes the problem returns or another is found. If this happens, you may need a second catheter ablation. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new or returning symptoms.

Common Symptoms After Catheter Ablation

In the first few weeks after catheter ablation, you may feel mild chest fullness or aching. You may also feel as if your heart is skipping beats. Or, your heartbeat may feel faster than normal. You may think that your heart rhythm problem is about to return. These sensations are normal and usually go away with time. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned.

When to Call Your Health Care Provider 

After your procedure, call your health care provider if you have:

  • Increased bleeding, bruising, or pain at the insertion site

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain

  • Coldness, swelling, or numbness of the arm or leg near the insertion site

  • A bruise or lump at the insertion site that is larger than a walnut

  • A fever over 100°F (37.8°C)

  • Symptoms of your arrhythmia

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.