How long after sheath removal can a vasovagal response occur?
Situation: I picked up a stable patient post exploratory neuro angio (no cardiac history). This patient had walked into the hospital for the angio, pre-elective surgery for aneurysm clipping the following day. She had gone straight to angio/cath lab on admission. When I went to retrieve her, the sheath had already been pulled (sheaths are not pulled in my unit), the patient was reported as stable, and had already been transferred to a stretcher. I hooked up my travel monitor, BP and HR were normal, assessed the site and noted no hematoma or excessive bleeding to the bandage, also a strong pedal pulse.
Once I was in the elevator, the patient reported feeling "funny". Never what you want to hear in the elevator. In the second I spent assessing the site, I watched her HR plummet into the low 30s, quickly followed by a dropping blood pressure, and decreased LOC as I prepared a dose of Atropine. With the Atropine and the initiation of a ns fluid bolus, she was rebounding as we made it back to the unit. Note: there was no change to the site and the patient was flat in bed.
Finally, to my question....
I have not trained for sheath removal, however, it was my understanding that the vasovagal response is caused by pressure and site pain during removal. So why did this occur 15 minutes after pressure held and dressing applied in a pt with no complaint of site pain??? I checked the cath report and did not note any previous incident or Atropine administration while in the lab.
How long following removal should one be concerned for this?
Thank you for reading my very lengthy story!