Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Acute coronary syndromes
Primary percutaneous coronary intervention for acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: changing patterns of vascular access, radial versus femoral artery
  1. S L Hetherington,
  2. Z Adam,
  3. R Morley,
  4. M A de Belder,
  5. J A Hall,
  6. D F Muir,
  7. A G C Sutton,
  8. N Swanson,
  9. R A Wright
  1. Department of Cardiology, The James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simon L Hetherington, Department of Cardiology, The James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough TS4 3BW,UK; simon.hetherington{at}


Objective: To examine the safety and efficacy of emergency transradial primary percutaneous coronary intervention for ST-elevation myocardial infarction.

Design: Single-centre observational study with prospective data collection.

Setting: A regional cardiac centre, United Kingdom.

Patients: 1051 consecutive patients admitted with ST-elevation myocardial infarction, without cardiogenic shock, between November 2004 and October 2008.

Interventions: Percutaneous coronary interventions by radial and femoral access

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measures were procedural success, major vascular complication and failed initial access strategy. Secondary outcomes were in-hospital mortality and major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events, needle-to-balloon times, contrast volume used, radiation dose absorbed and time to discharge. Multiple regression analysis was used to adjust for potential differences between the groups.

Results: 571 patients underwent radial access and 480 femoral. A variable preference for radial access was observed among the lead operators (between 21% and 90%). Procedural success was similar between the radial and femoral groups, but major vascular complications were more frequent at the site of femoral access (0% radial versus 1.9% femoral, p = 0.001). Failure of the initial access strategy was more frequent in the radial group (7.7% versus 0.6%, p<0.001). Adjustment for other procedural and clinical predictors did not alter these findings. Needle-to-balloon time, as a measure of procedural efficiency, was equal for radial and femoral groups.

Conclusions: In the setting of acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction without cardiogenic shock, transradial primary angioplasty is safe, with comparable outcomes to a femoral approach and a lower risk of vascular complications.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.