Q: Do evidence-based or best practice guidelines exist for managing femoral arterial sheaths in patients who have undergone elective percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)?

A: Anna Mall, BS, RN, CCRN, replies:

Estimates indicate that more than 1 million Americans will experience a new or recurrent cardiac event in 2019, and many of these patients will receive treatment in cardiac catheterization laboratories across the country. Cardiac catheterization is a common procedure, yet standards and protocols for caring for this patient population vary greatly among institutions, and few evidence-based standards relate to postprocedural care.2,3 

Although use of the radial artery to obtain vascular access has increased in the United States, the femoral artery remains a mainstay of vascular access during PCI, despite higher rates of complications, major bleeding, and transfusion. Few publications describe the nursing care of patients immediately after catheterization, specifically care of the femoral sheath. Nursing...

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