The researchers found no major differences in mortality or readmission to the hospital after same-day stenting either right after the procedure or 30 days later.
The bleeding rate was extremely low -- only 1 percent -- and the same in both groups of patients.
But the authors only looked at very low-risk patients, those who were undergoing elective PCI and who had not arrived in the emergency room with blaring ambulance lights and in the midst of a heart attack.
And if hospitals and heart centers are going to adopt this practice, it's important that they have in place education strategies and telephone numbers for patients to call if they have a question or problem.
"It's a program. It's not just, 'Oh, you're low risk. We're going to get you out of the door,'" said Rao, who is also director of Duke's Cardiac Catheterization Lab.
Narins' hospital started a same-day stenting protocol about six months ago that does include such safeguards.
"We're starting off with patients who are pretty healthy to begin with. These are simple and straightforward angioplasty procedures that go well without complications," he said. "The patients live locally, say within 30 miles of the hospital, and have good support at home. They're not going to be going home by themselves. If something unexpected happens, they'd be able to get in touch with us."
The Radiological Society of North America has more on stenting.
SOURCES: Sunil V. Rao, M.D., associate professor, medicine, and director, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Craig Narins, M.D., associate professor, medicine, University of Roc
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