Introduction: The transradial approach has been well described for arteriography of the coronary vessels. To assess the safety and success rate of the transradial approach for three-vessel or four-vessel diagnostic cerebral arteriography, we reviewed the experience at our institution and compared our complication rates with those found in the literature for transfemoral cerebral angiography and transradial coronary angiography.
Methods: We reviewed the electronic medical records of 129 consecutive patients in whom 132 cerebral angiographic studies were performed by use of a transradial approach between December 1999 and June 2001. A total of 54 selective catheterizations were performed, of which 39 were of the vertebral artery, 11 of the internal carotid artery, and 4 of the external carotid artery. Records were reviewed for periprocedural and delayed complications, indications for diagnostic angiography, and requirement of conversion to a femoral approach. Records were reviewed prospectively for the first 55 procedures and retrospectively for the next 77 procedures.
Results: The mean time to initial clinical follow-up was 1.5 months (median, 0.5 mo). The combined rate of periprocedural and delayed complications was 9%, and there were no major complications. Minor periprocedural complications included transient radial artery spasm (four patients), failure to access the brachial artery (two patients), severe pain (one patient), skin desquamation (one patient), and hematoma (one patient). There were no major complications. At the time of follow-up evaluation, these patients were without deficits related to cannulation of the radial artery.
Conclusion: The transradial approach for cerebral angiography is a safe alternative to the transfemoral route. After transradial cerebral angiography, patients require a shorter observation period and are not restricted to bed rest. As technological developments generate smaller, more pliable endovascular surgical devices, future endovascular surgery may be performed transradially.