OBJECTIVES/BACKGROUND To assess brake reaction time (BRT; key factor in driving ability) in patients receiving transfemoral coronary angiography (CAG). We assumed that patients would have a significantly impaired BRT after the procedure.
METHODS A prospective, observational study design was applied. Consecutive patients undergoing right-sided transfemoral CAG as part of the clinical routine were included. An experimental driving simulator was used to determine BRT after receiving a visual stimulus. The subjects applied the brake with their right foot as quickly as possible when a red-light signal appeared. The time interval between stimulus and brake application was taken as BRT. In addition to the total BRT, also its components were determined: neurologic reaction time, foot transfer time and brake travel time. BRT was determined before and 1 day after CAG (pre-post comparison).
RESULTS 71 patients were included in the analysis (58 male, age 61 ± 9 years). Total BRT was 594 ± 188 and 591 ± 198 ms before and after the CAG procedure, respectively (p = 0.270). Similarly, also the BRT components 'foot transfer time' and 'brake travel time' did not show significant differences between the two test occasions. However, neurologic reaction time decreased from 269 ± 67 to 255 ± 64 ms (p = 0.036).
CONCLUSIONS We found no impairment of BRT on the first day after puncture of the right-sided femoral artery in patients undergoing CAG. Therefore, with regard to BRT, it is regarded safe to resume driving from day 1 after CAG. Other factors of driving safety beyond BRT must also be considered.