Arms safer for inserting stents than legs

July 19th, 2008 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 19 (IANS) Opening blocked arteries with stents through the arm rather than the leg is safer and reduces bleeding complications, but doctors still prefer the more conventional method, says a US study co-authored by an Indian origin researcher. “Our research shows that only a tiny fraction of stenting procedures are done this way. The study suggests that maybe it’s time to change the way we practice,” said Sunil Rao, cardiologist at Duke University and co-author of the study.

Researchers reviewed data from 593,094 cases of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in 606 hospitals across the US included in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry from 2004 to 2007.

They tracked the incidence of radial PCI (r-PCI) versus leg or femoral PCI (f-PCI) during that period and calculated which patients were more likely to get which option.

They found that the arm approach had gained favour over the four-year period, but still comprised only 1.3 percent of the total number of procedures.

The data further revealed that r-PCI was more likely to be chosen as an approach for younger patients, those with significantly higher body mass index and patients with a higher prevalence of peripheral vascular disease

“The findings are somewhat surprising, given . . .r-PCI can significantly lower risk of bleeding, especially among women, patients younger than 75 and people undergoing PCI for acute coronary syndrome,” said Rao.

Previous studies have also shown that r-PCI may cost less because it can mean shorter time in the hospital for some patients.

The study will appear in the August issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Intervention.

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