JOURNAL ARTICLE

Diagnostic cardiac catheterisation in a hospital without on-site cardiac surgery

H D Papaconstantinou, A J Marshall, C J Burrell
Heart 1999, 81 (5): 465-9
10212162

OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility, safety, and clinical impact of diagnostic cardiac catheterisation in a multipurpose laboratory in a district general hospital without cardiac surgery.

METHODS: A prospective audit of the first 2000 consecutive cases between September 1992 and March 1997. Unstable patients were referred to a surgical centre for investigation, in line with subsequently published British Cardiac Society (BCS) guidelines, but all other patients requiring cardiac catheterisation were investigated locally and are included in this report. The function of the laboratory was also compatible with the BCS guidelines regarding staffing, operators, equipment, number of cases, and locally available vascular surgery.

RESULTS: Of the 2000 cases, 1988 studies were completed (99%), 1985 (99%) included coronary angiography, and 1798 (90%) were performed as day cases. Left main stem disease was present in 157 (8%), three vessel disease in 683 (34%), two vessel disease in 387 (19%), single vessel disease in 424 (21%), and normal coronary arteries in 494 (25%). Of the latter, 284 (14% of the total) had another cardiac diagnosis for which they were investigated (for example, valvar heart disease). Referral for cardiac intervention following catheterisation was made in 1172 of the 2000 cases (intervention rate 59%; catheter:intervention ratio 1. 7:1). The interventions performed were coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) in 736 of the 1172 cases (63%), other types of cardiac surgery in 122 (10%), combined CABG and other cardiac surgery in 71 (6%), and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty in 243 (21%). There were two catheter related deaths (0. 1%), both of which occurred within 24 hours of the procedure, and a further nine major cardiovascular complications with residual morbidity (0.45%). These were myocardial infarction in two (0.1%), cerebrovascular events in two (0.1%), and surgical vascular complications in five (0.25%). In addition, there were eight successfully treated, life threatening arrhythmias (0.4%).

CONCLUSIONS: Diagnostic cardiac catheterisation can be performed safely and successfully in a local hospital. When BCS guidelines are followed, the mortality is similar to published pooled data from regional centres (0.1% v 0.12%). The high intervention rate indicates a persistent unmet demand in the districts, which will continue to affect surgical and interventional services.

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