BACKGROUND--Is it safe to discharge patients from hospital on the same day as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA)? The hypothesis tested was that careful pre and post angioplasty selection of patients can identify a group that is at very low risk of postprocedural complications and that these patients may be discharged on the day of the procedure. METHODS--63 patients undergoing limited risk coronary angioplasty of 72 lesions were studied. So that patients would be able to walk soon after PTCA miniature equipment (6 French catheters and balloon-on-a-wire devices) was passed percutaneously through the right brachial artery. After coronary angioplasty patients with angiographic evidence of dissection and/or thrombus and with complications were assigned to an inpatient group and those in whom PTCA had achieved a good angiographic result were assigned to an outpatient group. RESULTS--Two patients were excluded because the brachial approach failed, leaving 61 patients (70 lesions). After PTCA 50 patients (82%) with 57 lesions (81%) attempted were assigned to the outpatient group. No cardiac complication occurred in this subset (0%; 95% confidence interval 0 to 7%). Eleven patients (18%), in whom 13 lesions (19%) were attempted, were assigned to the inpatient group. Three of these patients (27%; 95% confidence interval 6 to 61%) had cardiac complications. Two patients needed local surgical repair after catheterisation of the brachial artery; one had a haematoma and one had a false aneurysm. CONCLUSIONS--Coronary angioplasty with miniature equipment passed through the brachial artery was a safe procedure with a high initial success rate. The results of this pilot trial suggest that with careful selection of patients before and after angioplasty PTCA can be performed safely in outpatients.
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