BACKGROUND: The increasing complexity of coronary intervention has led to variations in current patterns of nursing practice for patients undergoing routine percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. In preparation for a large study examining the effects of specific nursing practices on complications at the site of vascular access, we surveyed institutions participating in a randomized phase III trial involving 4010 patients to determine current patterns of practice. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the current patterns of nursing practice for patients undergoing percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. METHODS: An eight-page questionnaire was completed by 70 hospitals participating in the study titled Integrelin to Manage Platelet Aggregation to Prevent Coronary Thrombosis (IMPACT II). RESULTS: The hospitals participating in this study have an average of 500 beds; 34% of the institutions do 500 to 1000 angioplasty procedures annually. At many sites (39%), heparin is infused for 12 to 18 hours after the intervention, but heparin is not infused at all in 31% of the hospitals studied. At 27% of the hospitals, arterial sheaths are removed 12 to 18 hours after angioplasty, and at 15% of the hospitals, sheaths are removed more than 18 hours after the procedure. Typically after angioplasty (36%), patients are transferred to an ICU, with a nurse-patient ratio of 1:2. Eighty-three percent of the hospitals use CareMAPs or care plans for standardization of care. Most hospitals (83%) require complete bed rest for patients who have had angioplasty, with the affected leg restrained to prevent mobility. Ninety-one percent of the hospitals reported continuing to treat the patient with bed rest for an additional 6 hours after the sheath is removed. CONCLUSION: Comprehensive nursing standards of care based on well-designed clinical trials for patients after angioplasty are not available. In the second phase of our study, we hope to correlate nursing practices with clinical outcome data to improve further the care of patients who have had angioplasty.

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