OBJECTIVE: To study the safety of a protocol that allows ambulation 1 hour after diagnostic cardiac catheterization with a transfemoral approach using a 5F catheter system. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 1005 consecutive patients (1009 procedures) undergoing outpatient diagnostic cardiac catheterization with a transfemoral approach using a 5F catheter system at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, were included in this study from January 1, 2004, to August 31, 2005. All patients underwent standard manual compression to achieve hemostasis and were ambulated after 1 hour of bed rest. RESULTS: The mean age of the patients was 64.5 years, and 62% were male. Minor vascular complications occurred in 33 procedures (3.3%), including 14 hematomas (1.4%) less than 4 cm and 19 cases of rebleeding (1.9%) that required repeated manual compression. Only 1 patient (0.1%) had a hematoma greater than 4 cm. No patient had a major complication, such as surgical repair, red blood cell transfusion, retroperitoneal bleeding, formation of an arteriovenous fistula or pseudoaneurysm, arterial occlusion, or an infection. CONCLUSIONS: Ambulation 1 hour after diagnostic cardiac catheterization with a transfemoral approach using a 5F catheter system is safe and associated with low rates of vascular complications. This strategy may improve patient comfort, reduce resource utilization, and be preferable to use of vascular closure devices.
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