BACKGROUND: Compression of the femoral artery to achieve hemostasis is necessary following angiographic and interventional cardiovascular procedures. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate length of time to hemostasis with manual versus mechanical compression of the femoral artery. METHODS: In a prospective study of 503 patients randomized into one of three groups, manual compression with a pressure dressing or vascular stasis button was used on groups 1 and 3, respectively. Mechanical compression with a pressure dressing was used on group 2. The length of time to hemostasis was measured in minutes. Demographic data, current medications, risk factors, laboratory values, and procedural data were analyzed. RESULTS: Mean time to hemostasis was 22 minutes with manual compression and 31 minutes with mechanical compression. Crossover from mechanical to manual compression to achieve hemostasis occurred in 21 of 168 patients (13%). CONCLUSIONS: Results of this study show that advantages of manual compression include shorter time to hemostasis, no requirement for special equipment, and the ability to remove arterial and venous sheaths simultaneously. Disadvantages include upper extremity fatigue and human resource considerations. If the operator is a nurse, the cost of compression increases and the ability to meet patient needs may be restricted. Although mechanical compression is a "hands free" approach, arterial hemostasis is prolonged, special equipment is required, and the total cost per procedure is higher.

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