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How to use Best Practices in the Cath Lab to Improve Outcomes

First few Article Sentences

Using best practices in hospitals is an important aspect of improving patient outcomes. Our knowledge of healthcare practices has never been greater or communication so rapid and widespread. Yet implementing these best practices continues to be difficult and slow in coming. The growth of knowledge and technology has made it difficult for providers and staff to research and implement new practices that have proven results in improving patient care.

One best practice in cardiac catheterization is the use of the transradial approach to coronary artery catheterization. For over 40 years, the use of the femoral approach has been the dominant method of canualating the artery for a heart catheterization procedure. Currently 98% of all heart catheterizations performed in the United States uses a femoral approach. In Canada and Europe 40 to 50% of all heart catheterization procedures use a transradial approach. The benefits of this approach are well documented. They include less vascular and bleeding complications and improved patient comfort. A study published in 2008 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions showed that bleeding complications associated with percutaneous coronary interventions were reduced by 58% with the transradial approach compared with femoral access, a finding consistent with other research. So why then when the research continues to show that a transradial approach to heart catheterization has benefits do US cardiologists continue to use a femoral approach? The reason is training and habit.

Winner, RN, MSN, Cynthia


University of California Irvine Medical Center

Performance Improvement

April 1, 2011

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