Background: As the number of endovascular interventions increase and resources become scarce, surgeons need to be aware of cost-effective and efficient practice options. Many surgeons routinely admit their patients for overnight observation after uneventful endovascular interventions. Although this may be appropriate for patients with tissue loss and rest pain, we believe that peripheral angioplasty in patients with claudication can be safely performed as an outpatient procedure with significant cost savings.
Methods: All patients with intermittent claudication undergoing peripheral angioplasty by a single vascular surgeon were enrolled prospectively in a same-day discharge protocol. Involved arteries and use of stent and closure device were recorded. Time to mobilization and time to discharge were determined. Patients were observed in an observation unit by a registered nurse, and were examined by the surgeon at the time of ambulation and before discharge. Patients were admitted to the hospital if complications arose during the predetermined observation period. Periprocedural complications and reasons for admission were noted. Patients were evaluated at 1 week, 6 weeks, and 3 to 6 months after the intervention.
Results: During 27 months, 112 interventions were performed in 97 patients. The superficial femoral artery was the most frequent site of intervention (47%). Multiple sites had angioplasty in 27 (24%) procedures. Nine (8%) procedures resulted in admission. One patient was admitted for a major puncture site hematoma requiring blood transfusion, two patients for observation of a minor hematoma at the puncture site, one for chest pain, and one for observation of transient bradycardia. The mean time to mobilization was 1.4 +/- 1.3 hours, and the mean time to discharge was 2.8 +/- 1.2 hours. The average postprocedural cost for patients undergoing same-day discharge was $320 per patient, which contrasts with $1800 for routine overnight observation. No deaths or unplanned admissions to the hospital occurred < or =30 days of intervention.
Conclusions: Same-day discharge after peripheral angioplasty is safe and cost-effective. Need for admission is evident within 2 hours. Routine admission after peripheral angioplasty for patients with claudication is unnecessary and should no longer be the standard of care.