BACKGROUND: Peripheral vascular complications that can occur after cardiac catheterization are costly and cause patient discomfort. OBJECTIVES: To determine the difference in frequency of vascular complications in a convenience sample of cardiac catheterization patients who had mechanical pressure vs digital pressure for postprocedural hemostasis. METHODS: A quasi-experimental design was used. The study group consisted of 100 patients on whom a mechanical clamp was used to effect hemostasis; the control group consisted of 100 patients who received digital pressure for hemostasis. Data from the control group were obtained retrospectively through review of cardiac catheterization charts. RESULTS: The two groups showed statistically significant differences for the number of catheters used, mean time elapsed between arterial entry and catheter removal, and compression time. There was no significant difference in complication rate between the groups. DISCUSSION: Complications including hematoma formation, arterial occlusion, ischemia and traumatic neuropathy were monitored. CONCLUSIONS: The mechanical pressure device is a safe, cost-effective alternative to digital pressure for hemostasis following cardiac catheterization. Further studies are needed to verify these results and the effectiveness of the device following other percutaneous intra-arterial procedures.

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