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JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2011 Mar;4(3):347-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2010.11.011.

Radial artery access as a predictor of increased radiation exposure during a diagnostic cardiac catheterization procedure.

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Heart Investigation Unit, Hamilton Health Sciences, Ontario, Canada.



We sought to determine whether radial artery access is associated with increased radiation exposure during cardiac catheterization and whether this relationship differs between operators, after adjustment for clinical and patient characteristics associated with greater radiation exposure.


Although previous studies have demonstrated a relationship between radial access and increased radiation exposure to the patient during fluoroscopy-guided cardiac procedures, such studies did not account for differences in operator technique or clustering of patients, procedure complexity, or patient size. Those studies included data from few operators.


Data were collected prospectively on 5,954 diagnostic cardiac catheterizations performed at a tertiary cardiac center. A multilevel regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between radial artery access and radiation exposure.


After adjustment for multiple factors, radial access was associated with increased exposure (beta = 0.22, p < 0.0001) when compared with the use of femoral access, as measured using the logarithmically transformed air kerma (LogAK). On average, radial access accounted for a 23% increase in measured AK. This was consistent between operators. There were observed differences in the mean LogAK between operators (p = 0.0158), as well as substantial variation in measured LogAK between patients within each operator's practice (p < 0.001).


Radial artery access cardiac catheterization was associated with increased radiation exposure to the patient when compared with femoral access. The measured AK was still far below the threshold for deterministic effects in most patients studied. Observed variations in AK between and within operators may point to better opportunities to reduce exposure.

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