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A vascular closure device is a mechanical closure of the arteriotomy designed to provide immediate haemostasis after an angiogram. Devices can either be a piece of collagen, a metallic clip or a suture.
The decision to use a vascular closure device at the completion of an angiographic procedure is made by the clinician carrying out the angiographic procedure. Referrers should have a general awareness of the decision making process surrounding vascular closure devices, so that appropriate clinical information can be provided as part of the request for the angiographic procedure.
Factors that would influence the use of a vascular closure device after angiography are:
The radiologist carrying out the angiographic procedure will make the decision about whether a manual closure device or simple compression of the puncture site with a finger will be used to stop the bleeding at the end of the procedure. Referrers need to know about these devices because of potential complications that can occur if these devices are used instead of manual compression.
In most cases, vascular closure devices work to stop bleeding from the artery immediately. Very rarely, certain complications can occur. The main complications include:
Obstructing foreign body (less than 1%) presenting as new onset claudication or critical limb ischaemia.
Infection (less than 1%). This usually becomes apparent approximately 1 week after the procedure, presenting as pain, swelling, redness and fever. Treatment of infection is with antibiotics and, in severe cases, surgical drainage and exploration.
Delayed bleeding (2.5-5% of cases). This may indicate a pseudoaneurysm, which can clot spontaneously and either resolve itself or persist, and be at risk of rupture and further bleeding.
Persistent puncture site pain post procedure and if this persists longer than 1 week the proceduralist should be contacted.
Other complications are those of the angiographic procedure (see Angiography)
Manual compression is the most commonly used method for haemostasis after an angiographic procedure. In most cases, it is very successful, but typically involves compression for at least 10 minutes, followed by approximately 4 hours of bed rest with the patient lying flat. Manual compression is uncomfortable for the patient during the period of compression. Longer duration of compression is required in patients with larger sheaths, coagulopathy or on anticoagulation. Manual compression is less successful in larger patients. Patients who are unable to lie flat for the 4 hour duration are at an increased risk of bleeding.
Last saved on 21 September 2016.
RANZCR® is not aware that any person intends to act or rely upon the opinions, advices or information contained in this publication or of the manner in which it might be possible to do so. It issues no invitation to any person to act or rely upon such opinions, advices or information or any of them and it accepts no responsibility for any of them.
RANZCR® intends by this statement to exclude liability for any such opinions, advices or information. The content of this publication is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. It is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient and his/her doctor. Some of the tests and procedures included in this publication may not be available at all radiology providers.
RANZCR® recommends that any specific questions regarding any procedure be discussed with a person's family doctor or medical specialist. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, RANZCR®, its Board, officers and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use, or interpretation. Each person should rely on their own inquires before making decisions that touch their own interests.