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Am Heart J. 2012 Oct;164(4):462-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2012.08.001.

Transulnar approach as an alternative access site for coronary invasive procedures after transradial approach failure.

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Santa Casa de Marília, Marília, São Paulo, Brazil.



Unsuccessful radial artery puncture, inability to advance the guide catheter to the ascending aorta, and inadequate guide catheter support represent mechanisms of transradial approach failure. With the rationale of sharing the same efficacy and safety promoted by radial access, the transulnar approach represents an alternative access site for percutaneous coronary procedures.


Between May 2007 and May 2012, 11,059 coronary invasive procedures were performed in a single institution: 10,108 by transradial approach (91.4%), 541 by transfemoral approach (4.9%), and 410 by transulnar approach (3.7%). Patients who underwent coronary procedures through transulnar access were included in a prospective registry of effectiveness and safety.


Diagnostic procedures accounted for 71.8% of cases, and the right ulnar access was the most common route (88.9%). Procedure success was high (98.5%), with a crossover rate of 1.5% (6 cases), of which 5 were achieved through the contralateral radial access and 1 through femoral approach. Complications related to access site were low (3.9%), consisting mostly of minor bleeding due to subcutaneous hematomas. There were no cases of major bleeding, nerve injury, pseudoaneurysm, arteriovenous fistula, or necessity of vascular surgical repair.


The transulnar approach represents an alternative to the transradial approach in selected cases when performed by radial-trained operators, sharing a high success rate and extremely low incidence of access-site complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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