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Ultrasound guidance for femoral venous access in patients undergoing pulmonary vein isolation: a quasi-randomized study.

INTRODUCTION: Routine ultrasound (US)-guidance for femoral venous access to decrease vascular complications of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation procedures has been advocated. However, the benefit has not been unequivocally demonstrated by randomized-trial data.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Consecutive patients undergoing pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) on uninterrupted anticoagulant treatment were included. A quasi-random allocation to either US-guided or conventional puncture group was based on which of the two procedure rooms the patient was scheduled in, with only one of the rooms equipped with an US machine including a vascular transducer. The same 4 novice operators in rotation, with no relevant previous experience in US-guided vascular access performed venous punctures in both rooms. Major and minor vascular complications and the rate of prolonged hospitalization were compared. Major vascular complication was defined as groin hematoma, arteriovenous fistula, or pseudoaneurysm. Hematoma was considered as a major vascular complication if it met type 2 or higher Bleeding Academic Research Consortium criteria (requiring nonsurgical, medical intervention by a health care professional; leading to hospitalization or increased level of care, or prompting evacuation). Of the 457 patients 199 were allocated to the US-guided puncture group, while the conventional, palpation-based approach was performed in 258 cases. Compared to the conventional technique, US-guidance reduced the rate of any vascular complication (11.63% vs. 2.01%, p<0.0001), including both major (4.26% vs. 1.01%, p=0.038) and minor (7.36% vs 1.01%, p=0.001) vascular complications. In addition, the rate of prolonged hospitalization was lower in the US-guided puncture group (5.04% vs. 1.01%, p=0.032).

CONCLUSION: The use of US for femoral vein puncture in patients undergoing PVI decreased the rate of both major and minor vascular complications. This quasi-randomized comparison strongly supports adapting routine use of US for AF ablation procedures. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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