Background: The palmar arches serve as the most important conduits for digital blood supply, and incompleteness may lead to digital ischemia when the radial artery becomes obstructed after cardiac catheterization. The rate of palmar arch incompleteness and the clinical consequences after transradial access are currently unknown.
Methods and results: The vascular anatomy of the hand was documented by angiography in 234 patients undergoing transradial cardiac catheterization. In all patients, a preprocedural modified Allen test and Barbeau test were performed. Upper-extremity function was assessed at baseline and 2-year follow-up by the QuickDASH. Incompleteness of the superficial palmar arch (SPA) was present in 46%, the deep palmar arch was complete in all patients. Modified Allen test and Barbeau test results were associated with incompleteness of the SPA (P=0.001 and P=0.001). The modified Allen test had a 33% sensitivity and 86% specificity for SPA incompleteness with a cutoff value of >10 seconds and a 59% sensitivity and 60% specificity with a cutoff value of >5 seconds. The Barbeau test had a 7% sensitivity and 98% specificity for type D and a 21% sensitivity and 93% specificity for types C and D combined. Upper-extremity dysfunction was not associated with SPA incompleteness (P=0.77).
Conclusions: Although incompleteness of the SPA is common, digital blood supply is always preserved by a complete deep palmar arch. Preprocedural patency tests have thus no added benefit to prevent ischemic complications of the hand. Finally, incompleteness of the SPA is not associated with a loss of upper-extremity function after transradial catheterization.
Keywords: follow-up studies; hand; humans; radial artery; upper extremity.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.