Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 August 2008
Interventional catheterization procedures performed via the arterial route are well recognized therapies which are being employed with increasing frequency. This review summarizes our experience with local arterial complications of such procedures performed on 44 patients in our institution since 1985. A total of 51 balloon dilations were performed. All patients were heparinized during the procedure. Twenty-one procedures (41%) were followed by clinical evidence of reduced arterial circulation to the affected leg more than four hours after the procedure. Continuing infusion of heparin was used in 17 patients, with return of the pulse concerned in six, while two further patients developed evidence of arterial obstruction after an interval (having initially been found to have ‘satisfactory’ pulses at the end of the procedure). The final infant, whose femoral artery had been torn and could not be repaired, was observed without continuing heparinization. Streptokinase and/or tissue plasminogen activator was employed in eight patients, with resultant success in four. The remaining three, and three who failed thrombolytic therapy, underwent embolectomy. The incidence of arterial damage was related to the size of the catheter (assessed by the size of sheath required to introduce the collapsed balloon, indexed to body surface area) and to low weight or young age at the time of the procedure. No relationship could be established with other variables, including operator, type of catheter, or year or duration of procedure. At long-term follow-up, 11 (22%) patients still have absent or reduced pulses in the leg concerned. Arterial damage following interventional catheterization procedures remains a frequent occurrence despite increasing experience and technical improvements.
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