Few complications found when heparin used with diagnostic cerebral angiography

   Researchers at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, have found a low incidence complications when heparin is used with diagnostic cerebral angiography (DCA). 

    Following exclusions (patients who had procedures immediately followed by neurointervention, had spinal angiograms, and were cases with insufficient documentation), the final cohort included 1143 DCA performed on 959 patients. Among those, 1037 had heparinized saline flush for the groin sheath; 62 had received additional intravenous heparin bolus; and 44 patients had two heparinized flush lines without heparin bolus. The were no atheroembolic complications in seven patients (0.6%) nor any serious groin complications in six patients (0.5%). All of these complications occurred in those who had heparinized saline for the arterial sheath only compared with the other groups (P >0.05).

   Further, there was no statistical evidence that administration of a intravenous heparin bolus or a second heparinized saline line would increase serious groin bleeding or cause less atheroembolic complications.