JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Current complications of diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac catheterization.

Data from 2,883 cardiac catheterizations performed during an 18 month period (from July 1986 through December 1987) were analyzed to assess the current complication profile of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Procedures performed during the study period included 1,609 diagnostic catheterizations, 933 percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasties and 199 percutaneous balloon valvuloplasties. Overall, the mortality rate was 0.28% but ranged from 0.12% for diagnostic catheterizations to 0.3% for coronary angioplasty and 1.5% for balloon valvuloplasty. Emergency cardiac surgery was required in 12 angioplasty patients (1.2%). Cardiac perforation occurred in seven patients (0.2%), of whom six were undergoing valvuloplasty, and five (2.5% of valvuloplasty attempts) required emergency surgery for correction. Local vascular complications requiring operative repair occurred in 1.9% of patients overall, ranging from 1.6% for diagnostic catheterization to 1.5% for angioplasty and 7.5% for valvuloplasty. Although the complication rates for diagnostic catheterization compare favorably with those of previous multicenter registries, current overall complication rates are significantly higher because of the performance of therapeutic procedures with greater intrinsic risk and the inclusion of increasingly aged and acutely ill or unstable patients.

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