A Consensus on Cath Lab Patient Flow

The atmosphere of a catheterization laboratory poses challenges to maintaining and prioritizing high-quality care and patient safety. Despite these challenges, healthcare providers performing procedures in the cath lab are expected to maintain appropriate communication, clinical management, documentation, and universal protocol. A Uniform Standard for Cath Labs My colleagues and I, on behalf of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), published a clinical expert consensus statement on best practices in the cardiac cath lab in the March 20, 2012 online issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions. Previous standards from the American College of Cardiology and SCAI have focused on how to set up a cath lab and run it as an administrator, but the new consensus statement focuses on the processes of patient flow. Following cardiac catheterization, careful patient monitoring is crucial during the hospital stay. Several vital components should be reviewed and documented prior to performing cardiac catheterization. Because percutaneous procedures are often complex, patients should be well informed about the procedure and their possible outcomes. When patients arrive at the cath lab, it’s recommended that a checklist be filled out documenting informed consent, history and physical exam information, medications, and allergies. It’s also important to document each patient’s candidacy for drug-eluting stents as well as sedation and anesthesia, their healthcare proxy status, and results of laboratory evaluations that are needed prior to the procedure. It’s highly recommended that use of any checklists cover all the nuances that can be easily missed if they’re not properly recorded. The SCAI recommends that best practices during cardiac catheterization include a thorough review of patient medical records, access site concerns,...