Ultrasound-guided versus palpation-guided radial artery catheterization in adult population: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials



The radial artery (RA) is routinely used for both hemodynamic monitoring and for cardiac catheterization. Although cannulation of the RA is usually undertaken through manual palpation, ultrasound (US)-guided access has been advocated as a mean to increase cannulation success rates and to lower RA complications; however, the published data are mixed. We sought to evaluate the impact of US-guided RA access compared with palpation alone on first-pass success to access RA.


Meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials comparing US-guided with palpation-guided radial access in 2,432 adult participants was done. Hemodynamic monitoring was the most common reason for RA catheterization. Only 2 randomized controlled trials evaluated patients undergoing cardiac catheterization. Ultrasound-guided radial access was associated with increased first-attempt success rate (risk ratio [RR] 1.35, 95% CI 1.16-1.57]) and decreased failure rate (RR 0.52, 95% CI 0.32-0.87). There were no significant differences in the risk of hematoma (RR 0.43, 95% CI 0.27-1.06), the mean time to first successful attempt (mean difference 25.13 seconds, 95% CI −1.06 to 51.34) or to any successful attempt (mean difference −4.74 seconds; 95% CI −22.67 to 13.18) between both groups.


Ultrasound-guided technique for RA access has higher first-attempt success and lower failure rate compared with palpation alone, with no significant differences in access site hematoma or time to a successful attempt. These findings support the routine use of US guidance for RA access.

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Am Heart J. 2018 Oct;204:1-8.