Pain relief for the removal of femoral sheath in interventional cardiology adult patients

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;2008(4):CD006043. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006043.pub2.


Background: There is considerable variation in use of pain relief for managing pain or discomfort of femoral sheath removal. Efficacy of pain relief to promote comfort during this procedure or to reduce the incidence of vascular and procedural complications has not been established.

Objectives: Assess efficacy of pain relief used to manage pain of femoral sheath removal in adults after interventional cardiology.Determine if pain relief influences rate of complications associated with this procedure.

Search strategy: Databases searched in August 2007: Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care Group Trials Register, Cochrane Heart Group Trials Register, Cochrane CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PubMed, Australia's Australasian Medical Index, National Research Centre, Web of Knowledge and Digital Dissertations.

Selection criteria: Randomised studies comparing opioid, local anaesthetic, anxiolytic, no treatment or placebo administered for alleviation of pain or discomfort of the femoral sheath removal procedure, were sought.

Data collection and analysis: Two review authors assessed trial quality and extracted data. Weighted mean differences (WMD) were calculated where meta-analysis of pain score data was feasible. Adverse effects information was collected.

Main results: Four trials involving 971 participants were included. All results were reported using a zero to ten pain scale. Three trials (four treatment arms) involving 498 participants compared subcutaneous lignocaine with control; with no significant difference between pain scores; WMD 0.12 (95% CI -0.46 to 0.69). Two trials (three treatment arms) involving 399 participants compared intravenous pain regimens with control. A significant reduction in pain score with an intravenous pain regimen (opioid and anxiolytic) was observed when compared with placebo; WMD -0.90 (95% CI -1.54 to -0.27). One study involving 60 participants compared levobupivacaine with placebo. Longer-acting local anaesthetic significantly lowered pain score by -1.10 (95% CI -1.26 to -0.94). Data is insufficient to identify any influence of pain regimens on incidence of vascular and procedural complications. No trials reported appropriate blinding for treatment arms. The largest trial, comprising 661 participants was unblinded with a quality score of two out of five.

Authors' conclusions: Intravenous pain regimens and levobupivacaine may have greater efficacy when compared to control for the management of pain related to femoral sheath removal. However, a definitive study is still required because the clinical difference is small. There is no evidence to support the use of subcutaneous lignocaine for the relief of femoral sheath removal related pain. There is insufficient evidence to determine if pain relief influences the rate of complications.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / instrumentation*
  • Bupivacaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Device Removal / adverse effects*
  • Femoral Artery
  • Humans
  • Levobupivacaine
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stents


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Levobupivacaine
  • Bupivacaine