Transradial arterial access (TRA) has been employed for transcatheter coronary procedures for more than 25 years, with numerous studies demonstrating improved patient safety as compared with transfemoral arterial access. However, TRA remains underused by the interventional radiology and vascular surgery communities. Advantages of TRA over transfemoral arterial access include easier accomplishment of postprocedure hemostasis, decreased risk of hemorrhagic complications, shorter patient recovery leading to immediate ambulation and decreased procedure-related costs, and increased patient satisfaction. In particular, TRA may be advantageous in the population of patients with obesity. The primary patient selection factor to consider before attempting TRA is whether the patient has adequate collateral perfusion to the hand; this is assessed using the Barbeau test. Limitations of TRA may include operator unfamiliarity or learning curve and unavailability of adequate length catheters. The most common complication, although still rare, is localized access site hematoma, which is often asymptomatic. Radial artery occlusion is rare and rarely symptomatic owing to collateral perfusion to the hand. Theoretical increased risk of cerebral embolism during TRA may be minimized by preferentially accessing the left wrist during below-diaphragm procedures, which limits transcatheter manipulation of the aortic arch. Transulnar artery access is under investigation for use in patients who cannot undergo TRA. Providing patients the option of TRA can lead to improved outcomes, potentially increasing safety and patient satisfaction while decreasing procedure costs.
Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 58–65