Access through the wrist, or radial access, when inserting stents to restore blood flow in heart disease patients has fewer complications and should be the default approach over access through the groin, or femoral access, according to researchers involved in a study in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions.
Researchers looked at 24 studies, enrolling 22,843 participants to conduct a comprehensive meta-analysis across the spectrum of heart disease and determined there was "strong to very strong" evidence that major bleeding and vascular complications were reduced and "moderate to strong" evidence that all cause death rates were reduced when using radial access versus femoral access.
Researchers concluded that the benefits of radial access support it being the default approach for all heart disease patients needing this procedure.
Radial access is a newer procedure and it involves a longer learning curve to develop the technical skills necessary. However, JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions Editor-in-Chief Spencer King, M.D., MACC, said, "as radial access is increasingly adopted, the benefits seen in trials has been weighed against the learning curve necessary for some operators. This most complete analysis of the value of radial access may convince some doubters to switch."
Materials provided by American College of Cardiology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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