TCT: Weighing the risks and benefits of vascular closures

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WASHINGTON, D.C.–Vascular closure devices can be successfully deployed and off-label devices not approved by the FDA can be used when they are evaluated on a patient-by-patient basis weighing the risks, benefits and cost, said D. Christopher Metzger, MD, of the Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn., during a presentation Sept. 24 at the 2010 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT)  annual scientific meeting.

“The truth is, while we all try to use FDA-approved techniques and products, in the art of medicine, there come situations where there is no FDA approval out there to guide,” said Metzger. “In those cases, we have to individualize and use our clinical judgment and available evidence for the best interest of our patients.”

Often during peripheral artery intervention, a unique, alternative closure site is necessary when the usual route becomes blocked, Metzger said, “We often need popliteal artery access, radial access, large venous sheaths and the occasional puncture of the subclavian artery.”

With what Metzger called these “unique” accesses, he said that patients may benefit even more from closure devices due to the fact that often nurses are not familiar with pulling sheaths from these locations and the difficult nature of closure of some access sites, including the small popliteal artery.

Metzger explained that the antegrade popliteal artery or brachial arteries are harder to compress because of their smaller size. “If I open tiny arteries, I really don’t want you to sit there holding pressure for 15 to 20 minutes right after I finish it,” he said.

Metzger said that you must ensure that you are individualizing the risk/benefit ratio and costs prior to a procedure; use an angiogram to see whether or not you should use various devices; and individualize the closure devices to the particular patient artery.

Metzger offered that the Angio-Seal (St. Jude Medical) may not work best for smaller arteries like the brachial or popliteal arteries due to the size of the device left behind in the artery after closure. While he prefers using the Perclose ProGlide vascular closure system (Abbott Vascular), he said that you must be careful of the leading edge during peripheral work, particularly when maneuvering around a chronic total occlusion (CTO) or stent. He noted that the Perclose devices work best in the brachial arteries, popliteal arteries and sometimes even extravascular cases.

He also offered that the antegrade closure approaches are more complex compared with retrograde approaches because of the likelihood of puncturing the superficial femoral artery located in a higher position. However, Metzger noted that the Angio-Seal device may work best in these cases.

During popliteal artery access, Metzger said that a road-map approach is best  to puncture the artery in the right place. He and colleagues have used the procedure in almost 50 patient cases and have only had complications where a sheath needed replacement.

As for brachial access, he said that it is important to assess the artery and weigh the risks and benefit ratio of the procedure; however, he said that this procedure allows for the removal of larger sheaths while patients are fully anticoagulated, reducing the rates of thrombotic complications.

He noted that careful and accurate marking is most important when performing these closures so you ensure to not pinch a smaller artery closed and noted that the Perclose device may be best.

“Vascular closure devices can be used successfully in a large spectrum of  arterial and venous access sites off-label … the use of these devices has to be based on an individual assessment—the risks, benefits and costs, for each patient and their particular access site,” Metzger concluded.