Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


Cardiac catheterization, Pain, Positioning



  1. Suggs, Patricia M. MSN, RN, PCCN, RN-BC
  2. Lewis, Rebecca BSN, RN, PCCN
  3. Hart, Ann C. MSN, RN, NEA-BC
  4. Troutman-Jordan, Meredith PhD, PMHCNS-BC
  5. Hardin, Sonya R. PhD, RN, CCRN, NP-C


Background: Patients frequently complain of back pain after cardiac catheterization, and there is a lack of evidence to guide practice regarding patient comfort while maintaining hemostasis at femoral access site after cardiac catheterization.


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine if frequent position changes affect a patient's pain level or increase incidents of bleeding in the recovery period after cardiac catheterization.


Methods: A quasi-experimental pretest/posttest design was used to evaluate a patient's reported pain levels and positioning changes during bed rest period postprocedure. Twenty charts were reviewed to note documentation of patient position, self-reported pain rating related to pain relief goals, and occurrence of bleeding at the procedure site. A survey was conducted to reveal nurse attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs regarding positioning and pain management for patients in the post-cardiac catheterization period. Results from this survey were used to develop education and data collection tools. Education regarding perceived barriers and importance of maximizing activity orders for patient comfort was provided to nursing staff. After nurse education, an additional 20 charts were reviewed to note if increasing frequency of position change affects pain levels reported by patients or if any increased incidence of bleeding was noted with greater frequency of position change.


Results: Data were analyzed using correlation analyses. Greater levels of pain were associated with higher pain ratings (r = 0.796, P < .000). Use of position change only as a comfort measure was negatively associated with pain ratings; in other words, lower patient pain ratings were associated with use of positioning only without addition of medications to address complaint (r = -0.493, P < .023). There was a significant increase in number of pain management goals met from before to after education intervention (P < .046).


Discussion: Nurse concern for increased bleeding was found to be the most common barrier for use of position changes for comfort after cardiac catheterization. This initial analysis suggests position changes in conjunction with pain medication are beneficial in managing pain after cardiac catheterization. There was no increase in bleeding or complications reported; however this study had a small sample size, and caution should be used regarding generalization of findings.