Background: Transradial percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) results in fewer vascular complications, earlier ambulation, and improved patient comfort. Limited data exist for radial access in acute myocardial infarction, where reperfusion must occur quickly.
Methods: In a multicenter pilot trial, 50 patients with myocardial infarction requiring either primary or rescue PCI were randomized to radial or femoral access. All operators had previously performed at least 100 transradial cases. Procedure times were prospectively recorded.
Results: Thrombolysis was used in 66% of the cases and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors in 94%. Crossover from radial to femoral access was required in one case. Percutaneous coronary intervention was performed in 47 patients, with stenting in 45. One procedural failure occurred with radial access because of inability to cross the occlusion. The time from local anesthesia to first balloon inflation was 32 (25th percentile 26, 75th percentile 38) minutes for radial access and 26 (22, 33) minutes for femoral access (P = .04). There were no significant differences in contrast use or fluoroscopy time. No patient experienced major bleeding or required transfusion. Doppler studies demonstrated 2 asymptomatic radial occlusions and 2 pseudoaneurysms (1 from each group). One patient in the femoral group died 2 days after PCI. At 30 days, there were no strokes or reinfarctions and no patient required bypass surgery or repeat PCI.
Conclusions: Primary and rescue PCI can be performed with high success rates using either radial or femoral access. Although radial access was associated with a longer time to first balloon inflation, the difference was small and likely not clinically significant. In patients without shock, major bleeding and vascular complications are infrequent with either access site despite the high use of thrombolysis and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors.