Recommendations for children after cardiac ablation
The following recommendations have to be borne in mind:
The child may have a shower 24 hours after the procedure. Immersion baths can be taken after 7 or 10 days, once the puncture area has completely healed.
The wound must be cleaned with soap and water every day, and a small amount of antiseptic applied, during the child’s first 3 or 4 days at home. We recommend use of 2% aqueous chlorhexidine. The area should be sealed afterwards with a fabric dressing.
Rest and activity
The child must rest at home for 3 or 4 days. They must not do any heavy exercise such as walking upstairs nor should they stand up for long periods. Once that period has passed, the child can go back to school.
They can lead a normal life, but without doing any sport for the first two weeks after the procedure. During the summer, the child can swim at the beach or in a swimming pool from 10 days after their operation.
The child can continue with their usual diet. It must be complete and varied.
The following aspects need to be monitored for the first few days:
Monitoring the puncture point. If it turns red or oozes fluid, or if the child has a fever, their reference health centre must be consulted about this.
It is normal for a small bruise to appear at the puncture point. If the swelling is large, this is a sign of haemorrhaging. It can cause pain and discomfort for the child. In that case, the child’s reference doctor must be consulted about this.
A piercing, low-intensity pain of short duration may appear in the puncture area, back or abdomen.It usually gets better after a few days and can be controlled with conventional painkillers. It is common and not a cause for concern.
If the pain is more intense and prolonged, then the medical team should be consulted to avoid any possible complications.
If the child's temperature rises, the reference medical centre must be consulted.
Sensation of palpitations
The child may sense a stronger heartbeat for the first few days after ablation. This is normal and goes away after a few days.
The prescribed treatment and the recommendations from the cardiology and nursing teams must be followed.
Some warning signs to take note of:
- Fever above 38°C: if a fever appears after 24 hurs, it could be a sign of an infection.
- Intense, sustained pain.
- Cold, pale legs.
- If the puncture point bleeds, it must be treated with a compression pad for 15 minutes. If it does not stop bleeding, the child must be taken to their reference health centre.
- Appearance of a large bruise in the puncture area or a hard swelling.
Websites for information for patients:
Related professionals at Vall d’Hebron:
- Professionals from the Paediatric Cardiology Department
- Specialist paediatric nursing staff. 2nd Floor Paediatrics
Jordi Fernández, law student and head of the Tívoli Theatre in Barcelona, was born with congenital heart disease. He has been a patient at Hospital Vall d’Hebron his whole life. The hospital is one of the most advanced in Spain in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease, thanks to the team in the Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Department, led by Dr. Raúl Abella and Dr. Ferran Rosés i Noguer.