Learning curve in the use of the radial artery as vascular access in the performance of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty

Cathet Cardiovasc Diagn. 1998 Jun;44(2):147-52. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0304(199806)44:2<147::aid-ccd5>3.0.co;2-6.


Radial artery access for coronary artery angioplasty is a cost-effective alternative to other vascular entry sites. The initial series of patients using the radial artery site for an operator without experience in using arm access for coronary artery angioplasty was evaluated. Clinical success was achieved via the radial artery in 87% of 32 lesions and 84% of 27 patients. The major feature limiting success via the arm was radial/brachial artery spasm, which occurred in 30% of cases (clinical success: 50% with spasm vs. 95% without spasm, P < 0.05). Spasm was more common in patients with peripheral vascular disease and in hypertensive patients not treated with calcium channel blockers prior to angioplasty. Coronary angioplasty via the radial artery may be successfully performed even by the interventionalist inexperienced in arm access. Vascular spasm is an important feature that limits the ability successfully to complete coronary angioplasty via the radial artery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / methods*
  • Catheters, Indwelling*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Disease / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radial Artery*