How Do I Care for Myself Once I Go Home?
While still in the hospital, your nurses and the Care Coordination Department are planning for your discharge. They will ask you about your help at home, educate you about any new medications you will now be taking, provide instructions on taking care of yourself at home, and when to make appointments for follow-up care.
A family member, friend or home health care staff must stay with you for the first several days after discharge to assist you in your daily activities.
You will have some pain/discomfort at the incision sites. You may still have some of your previous symptoms after the procedure. It may take a little time for these symptoms to improve and disappear due to other medical problems you may have. Most patients have a better quality of life by their 30-day follow-up appointment and still better at their 6-month follow-up visit. You will have to see your cardiologist again within 60 days before the 1-year anniversary of your TAVR procedure.
Trans Femoral Groin approach
Care for the procedure site - when you go home, there will be a bandage (dressing) over the catheter insertion site (also called the wound site).
- Wash your hands before you touch your incision site.
- The morning after your procedure, you may take the dressing off. The easiest way to do this is when you are showering, get the tape and dressing wet and remove it.
- After the bandage is removed, cover the area with a small adhesive bandage. It is normal for the catheter insertion site to be black and blue for a couple of days. The site may also be slightly swollen and pink, and there may be a small lump (about the size of a quarter) at the site.
- Wash the catheter insertion site at least once daily with soap and water. Place soapy water on your hand or washcloth and gently wash the insertion site; do not rub.
- Keep the area clean and dry, except when showering.
- Do not take a bath, soak in any kind of water, or swim until the incision is completely healed.
- Do not use creams, lotions or ointment on the wound site.
- Wear loose clothes and loose underwear.
- Do not strain during bowel movements for 3 to 4 days after the procedure. This helps prevent bleeding from the catheter-insertion site.
- Do not lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds or push or pull heavy objects for the first 5 to 7 days after the procedure.
- Do not do any strenuous activities for 5 days after the procedure. This includes most sports, such as jogging, golfing, playing tennis, and bowling.
- You may climb stairs if needed, but walk up and down the stairs more slowly than usual.
- Gradually increase your activity level during the week after the procedure, when you should be back to your normal routine. In some patients, this may take several weeks, so be patient and follow your Heart Team’s advice.
- Do not have sexual intercourse. Ask your doctor when it is safe to resume sexual activity.
- You must not resume driving for 1 week after the date of your procedure. If your family or heart doctor has told you previously that you could not drive, please check with them before you drive again.
Importance of a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
To get the best results from your TAVR procedure, you must commit to living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Your healthcare team can help you reach your goals, but it is up to you to take your medications as prescribed, make changes to your diet, quit smoking, get regular exercise, keep your follow-up appointments, and be an active member of your treatment team.
Following your procedure, you may need to start taking new medications or stop taking some you took before your TAVR procedure.
- Your doctor will prescribe new ones for you and your nurses will provide education on them while still in the hospital. They will make sure you know which medications you need to take and how often to take them. If you do not understand anything about any of the new medications or stopping others you previously took, please ask for clarification.
- If you have diabetes, ask your doctor if you need to make any changes to your diabetes medications. Your doctor may adjust your diabetes medications for one to two days after your procedure.
- Antiplatelet medication. You will need to take a “baby aspirin” (81 mg) every day. And, for 30 days after your procedure, you may also need to take clopidogrel (Plavix) along with the aspirin or other blood thinner you may be taking. Please tell your cardiologist if you cannot take these medications or if you have recently had problems with bleeding.
- You should practice optimal dental hygiene and see a dentist regularly for routine cleaning and dental care with antibiotic prophylaxis at each visit.
Learn More About Heart Care At Northridge Hospital Medical Center
For more information about the TAVR procedure and our Cardiovascular Center, please call Program Manager Carlyn Fostakowski, NP, at 818.855.8500 ext. 5691.
This procedure is currently performed at Northridge Hospital by Dr. Jahandar Saleh, Dr. Aamer Jamali, and Dr. Vasim Lala.