Patient Versus Physician Variation in Use of Transradial Percutaneous Coronary Intervention


The prevalence of radial access for transradial catheterization remains low in the United States, occurring in only 28% of cases in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) CathPCI. It is unknown whether the low adoption rate has been influenced by patient characteristics or is more operator dependent. In a 10-center study, we compared clinical and demographic characteristics among 323 radial and 1,506 femoral access percutaneous coronary intervention (PCIs) performed by 65 interventionists capable of radial PCI. We created a hierarchical logistic regression model to identify operator and patient characteristics associated with radial PCI and the median rate ratio to quantify the variation across operators. A subset was interviewed to assess health literacy and preferences in shared medical decision making. Radial access was used in 17.7% of patients. Patient factors associated with lower rate of radial PCI were previous PCI (33.4% vs 41.4%, p = 0.008), history of coronary artery bypass graft (8.4% vs 23.0%, p <0.001), and chronic total occlusion PCI (10.2% vs 17.9%, p <0.001). Operator characteristics associated with lower rate of radial PCI are being older, being longer in practice, lower number of publications, and Southern practice location. The range of radial use across operators was 1% to 99% and the median rate ratio was 1.97. Patients with radial access had lower health literacy, as assessed by the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine Revised (REALM) score (6.6 ± 2.6 vs 7.1 ± 2.0, p = 0.03) but did not differ in their preferences for shared decision making. In conclusion, our study demonstrates a high degree of variability of radial access for PCI among different operators, with few differences in patient characteristics, suggesting that improvement efforts should focus on operators.

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Am J Cardiol. 2017 Jun 15;119(12):1937-1941.