Purpose: This study evaluated the risk factors and surgical management of complications caused by femoral artery catheterization in pediatric patients.
Methods: From January 1986 to March 2001, the hospital records of all children who underwent operative repairs for complications caused by femoral artery catheterization were reviewed. A prospective cardiac data bank containing 1674 catheterization procedures during the study period was used as a means of determining risk factors associated with iatrogenic femoral artery injury.
Results: Thirty-six operations were performed in 34 patients (age range, 1 week-17.4 years) in whom iatrogenic complications developed after either diagnostic or therapeutic femoral artery catheterizations during the study period. Non-ischemic complications included femoral artery pseudoaneurysms (n = 4), arteriovenous fistulae (n = 5), uncontrollable bleeding, and expanding hematoma (n = 4). Operative repairs were performed successfully in all patients with non-ischemic iatrogenic femoral artery injuries. In contrast, ischemic complications occurred in 21 patients. Among them, 14 patients had acute femoral ischemia and underwent surgical interventions including femoral artery thrombectomy with primary closure (n = 6), saphenous vein patch angioplasty (n = 6), and resection with primary anastomosis (n = 2). Chronic femoral artery occlusion (> 30 days) occurred in seven patients, with symptoms including either severe claudication (n = 4) or gait disturbance or limb growth impairment (n = 3). Operative treatments in these patients included ileofemoral bypass grafting (n = 5), femorofemoral bypass grafting (n = 1), and femoral artery patch angioplasty (n = 1). During a mean follow-up period of 38 months, no instances of limb loss occurred, and 84% of children with ischemic complications eventually gained normal circulation. Factors that correlated with an increased risk of iatrogenic groin complications that necessitated surgical intervention included age younger than 3 years, therapeutic intervention, number of catheterizations (>or= 3), and use of 6F or larger guiding catheter.
Conclusion: Although excellent operative results can be achieved in cases of non-ischemic complications, acute femoral occlusion in children younger than 2 years often leads to less satisfactory outcomes. Operative intervention can provide successful outcome in children with claudication caused by chronic limb ischemia. Variables that correlated with significant iatrogenic groin complications included a young age, therapeutic intervention, earlier catheterization, and the use of a large guiding catheter.