Systemic anticoagulation decreases the risk of radial artery occlusion (RAO) after transradial catheterization and standard occlusive hemostasis. We compared the efficacy and safety of provisional heparin use only when the technique of patent hemostasis was not achievable to standard a priori heparin administration after radial sheath introduction. Patients referred for coronary angiography were randomized in 2 groups. In the a priori group, 200 patients received intravenous heparin (50 IU/kg) immediately after sheath insertion. In the provisional group, 200 patients did not receive heparin during the procedure. After sheath removal, hemostasis was obtained using a TR band (Terumo corporation, Tokyo, Japan) with a plethysmography-guided patent hemostasis technique. In the provisional group, no heparin was given if radial artery patency could be obtained and maintained. If radial patency was not achieved, a bolus of heparin (50 IU/kg) was given. Radial artery patency was evaluated at 24 hours (early RAO) and 30 days after the procedure (late RAO) by plethysmography. Patent hemostasis was obtained in 67% in the a priori group and 74% in the provisional group (p = 0.10). Incidence of RAO remained similar in the 2 groups at the early (7.5% vs 7.0%, p = 0.84) and late (4.5% vs 5.0%, p = 0.83) evaluations. Women, patients with diabetes, patients having not received heparin, and patients without radial artery patency during hemostasis had more RAO. By multivariate analysis, patent radial artery during hemostasis (odds ratio [OR] 0.03, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.004 to 0.28, p = 0.002) and diabetes (OR 11, 95% CI 3 to 38,p <0.0001) were independent predictors of late RAO, whereas heparin was not (OR 0.45 95% CI 0.13 to 1.54, p = 0.20). In conclusion, our results suggest that maintenance of radial artery patency during hemostasis is the most important parameter to decrease the risk of RAO. In selected cases, provisional use of heparin appears feasible and safe when patent hemostasis is maintained.
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