BACKGROUND: Restricting inpatients who have undergone a cardiac catheterization to 6 hours of flat bed rest to reduce the potential for bleeding from the femoral arteriotomy site is based on tradition rather than on research and is associated with discomfort for the patients. OBJECTIVES: To (1) determine the prevalence of femoral arteriotomy complications after diagnostic coronary angiography among inpatients after implementation of a guideline that included reduced duration of bed rest, elimination of sandbags at the arteriotomy site, and 30 degrees elevation of the head of the bed; (2) compare complication rates in this study with rates in previous studies; and (3) determine patient- or practice-related characteristics associated with complications. METHODS: Records of 306 inpatients were reviewed retrospectively to determine the prevalence of femoral arteriotomy complications and the presence of patient- or practice-related characteristics potentially associated with complications. Associations between each characteristic and the presence of a complication were evaluated by using the Wilcoxon rank sum test for continuous data and the chi 2 or Fisher exact test for nominal data. RESULTS: Prevalences of complications were hematoma, 8.8%; bleeding, 4.5%; pseudoaneurysm, 1%; arteriovenous fistula, 0%; and thrombosis, 0%. No evidence indicated that the occurrence of a complication was related to any patient- or practice-related characteristic. Complication rates were comparable to those of previous studies. CONCLUSIONS: The findings support continuation of the current guideline for patients' care after diagnostic coronary angiography. However, further prospective studies with larger samples of inpatients are warranted.

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