Routine use of fluoroscopic guidance and up-front femoral angiography results in reduced femoral complications in patients undergoing coronary angiographic procedures: an observational study using an Interrupted Time-Series analysis.
Transradial access is increasingly used for coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention, however, femoral access remains necessary for numerous procedures, including complex high-risk interventions, structural procedures, and procedures involving mechanical circulatory support. Optimising the safety of this approach is crucial to minimize costly and potentially life-threatening complications. We initiated a quality improvement project recommending routine fluoroscopic guidance (femoral head), and upfront femoral angiography should be performed to assess for location and immediate complications. We assessed the effect of these measures on the rate of vascular complications. Data were collected prospectively on 4534 consecutive patients undergoing femoral coronary angiographic procedures from 2015 to 2017. The primary end-point was any access complication. Outcomes were compared pre and post introduction including the use of an Interrupted Time-Series (ITS) analysis. 1890 patients underwent angiography prior to the introduction of routine fluoroscopy and upfront femoral angiography and 2644 post. All operators adopted these approaches. Baseline characteristics, including large sheath use, anticoagulant use and PCI rates were similar between the 2 groups. Fluoroscopy-enabled punctures were made in the 'safe zone' in over 91% of cases and upfront femoral angiography resulted in management changes i.e. procedural abandonment prior to heparin administration in 21 patients (1.1%). ITS analysis demonstrated evidence of a reduction in femoral complication rates after the introduction of the intervention, which was over and above the existing trend before the introduction (40% decrease RR 0.58; 95% CI: 0.25-0.87; P < 0.01). Overall these quality improvement measures were associated with a significantly lower incidence of access site complications (0.9% vs. 2.0%, P < 0.001). Routine fluoroscopy guided vascular access and upfront femoral angiography prior to anticoagulation leads to lower vascular complication rates. Thus, study shows that femoral intervention can be performed safely with very low access-related complication rates when fluoroscopic guidance and upfront angiography is used to obtain femoral arterial access.