Barriers to use of radial access for percutaneous coronary intervention



The aim of this study was to identify barriers to transradial access percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).


Transradial access yields fewer vascular complications, earlier ambulation, and more patient comfort. However, the adoption to practice is slow, and transfemoral access is still commonly used.


We identified all PCIs done by one operator in a radial‐first trainee‐driven practice. The individual charts were reviewed for all PCIs using femoral access. Reasons for not using radial access were identified. Descriptive statistics were used to report reasons for not using transradial access. Analyses were performed on a per‐procedure basis.


Of 1,948 PCIs, 1,790 (92%) were via radial access and 158 (8%) via femoral access. Femoral access was used to bail out unsuccessful radial access in 21 PCIs (13% of all femoral PCIs, 1% of all PCIs). Radial access was unsuccessful due to failure to cannulate radial artery, radial artery spasm, and radial loop in majority of radial access failure PCIs (n = 13). Femoral access was used as a primary strategy in 137 PCIs (87% of all femoral PCIs, 7% of all PCIs), mostly due to undetectable radial artery pulse (both left and right) (n = 40).


Radial access can be used for PCI safely and effectively. Inadequate radial pulse is the main barrier. Adjunctive strategies such as ulnar access and use of ultrasound may further increase the success rate of arterial access from the upper extremities.

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Riangwiwat T, et al. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2019. (Epub ahead of print).