This report details a prospectively randomized clinical trial comparing mechanical clamp compression to hand applied pressure for attaining vascular hemostasis after coronary intervention. Effectiveness was determined by comparing the incidence of femoral vascular complications resulting from each of the 2 techniques. Eligible participants included 778 consecutive patients scheduled for percutaneous coronary intervention over an 8-month period. An unselected cohort of the eligible patients (n = 592), determined by the availability of cross-trained clinicians, underwent follow-up serial physical examinations by blinded observers for the duration of their hospital stay. A second, similarly determined cohort (n = 390), underwent color-duplex ultrasonography within 24 hours of sheath removal. Baseline demographic and clinical characteristics, sheath removal parameters, and subsequent outcomes were collected prospectively. The primary end point was a composite of ultrasound-defined femoral vascular complications: femoral artery thrombosis, echogenic hematoma, pseudoaneurysm, or arteriovenous fistulae formation. Complications diagnosed by physical examination constituted the second fundamental end point and included: persistent oozing, ecchymosis, hematoma, bruit, and pulsatile mass. Compared to manual compression, mechanical clamp hemostasis reduced the primary adverse end point by 63% (p = 0.041). Physical examination detected ecchymosis, oozing, and hematomas at equally high frequencies in the two cohorts. Although 65% of the patients in both treatment groups encountered at least one of these cosmetic complications, the diagnoses made by physical examination did not correlate with ultrasound-defined pathology. Multivariable stepwise logistic regression analysis identified a relationship of advanced age and lower body weight to vascular complications. Utilization of a mechanical clamp rather than conventional hand pressure to attain vascular hemostasis significantly reduces ultrasound-defined femoral vascular pathology. Discrepancies between physical examination and ultrasound diagnoses challenge the utility of clinical assessment alone and establish ultrasound as the diagnostic modality of choice.