Feasibility of proactive medical device surveillance: The VA clinical assessment reporting and tracking (CART) program

Thomas T. Tsai, Tamara L. Box, Hans Gethoffer, Gregory Noonan, Paul D. Varosy, Thomas M. Maddox, Stephan D. Fihn, Thomas P. Gross, Robert L. Jesse, John S. Rumsfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Timely identification and reporting of medical device problems is critical to postmarket device surveillance programs to maximize patient safety. Cardiac catheterization laboratories are high-device utilization areas well suited for device surveillance. Objective: To demonstrate the feasibility of the national VA Clinical Assessment, Reporting, and Tracking (CART) system, embedded in the electronic health record of all 76 VA cardiac catheterization laboratories, to document unexpected problems with medical devices at the point of care. Methods: We evaluated 260,258 consecutive cardiac catheterization and/or percutaneous coronary intervention procedures on 175,098 Veterans between August 2006 and February 2012. Unexpected device problems (UDPs) encountered for any equipment used during a procedure were entered by clinicians at the point of care as part of regular care documentation. All UDPs were reviewed in collaboration with the FDA to ascertain the likelihood of a device defect (eg, in manufacture or design) and/or contributing to a procedural complication (level I, unlikely; level II, possibly; level III, likely). Results: Of the 260,258 procedure reports, 974 (0.37%) UDP's were reported by 71 (92.2%) of the 76 VA hospitals. After triage, 739 (75.9%) were deemed level I, 196 (20.1%) level II, and 39 (4.0%) level III. Of the 39 level III reports, 12 (30.7%) are in the submission phase as a FDA MedWatch report. The number of monthly UDP reports increased significantly from 2006 to 2012 (P<0.001). Conclusions: Leveraging a clinical application embedded in the electronic health record and in collaboration with FDA, a proactive national cardiac device surveillance program has been successfully implemented in the VA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S57-S61
JournalMedical care
Issue number3 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • cardiovascular
  • device safety
  • patient safety


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