Transulnar Versus Transradial Access for Coronary Angiography or Percutaneous Coronary Intervention: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2016 Apr;87(5):857-65. doi: 10.1002/ccd.26221. Epub 2015 Sep 2.


Background: Although transfemoral access (TFA) remains the standard of care for patients undergoing coronary angiography (CA) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in the USA, TRA is being increasingly used over TFA due to lower bleeding and mortality rates on the basis of meta-analyses and recently published MATRIX trial. In patients with unsuccessful ipsilateral radial access, TUA has been used as an alternative approach. The randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing TUA and TRA have reached mixed conclusions regarding the use of transulnar approach for coronary procedures.

Objectives: To systematically review and perform a meta-analysis of published RCTs comparing the safety and efficacy of transulnar access (TUA) vs. transradial access (TRA) in patients undergoing CA or PCI.

Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, and CENTRAL databases were searched for RCTs since inception through December, 2014. Meta-analysis was performed using random-effects model.

Results: Five RCTs involving 2,744 total patients were included in the meta-analysis. TUA compared with TRA had similar risks of MACE [risk ratio (RR): 0.87; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.56-1.36; P = 0.54] and access-related complications [RR: 0.92 (0.67-1.27); P = 0.62]. Higher rates of access cross-over [RR: 2.31 (1.07-4.98); P = 0.003] and number of punctures [1.57 vs. 1.4; mean difference (MD): 0.17; 95% CI: 0.08-0.26; P = 0.0002] were noted with TUA. There was no difference in arterial access time [12.8 vs. 10.9 min; MD: 1.86 (-1.35-5.7); P = 0.26], fluoroscopy time [7.6 vs. 7.2 min; MD: 0.37 (-0.39 - 1.13); P = 0.34] and contrast volume [151 vs. 153.7 ml; MD: -2.74 (-17.21 - 11.73); P = 0.71].

Conclusion: For patients requiring CA or PCI, TUA compared with TRA has similar efficacy and safety except for higher puncture rates and access cross-over.

Keywords: PCI; access cross-over; access-related complications; coronary angiography; coronary artery disease; transradial access; transulnar access.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Cardiac Catheterization / methods*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / methods*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Coronary Angiography / adverse effects
  • Coronary Angiography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Odds Ratio
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention / adverse effects
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention / methods*
  • Punctures
  • Radial Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ulnar Artery* / diagnostic imaging