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EuroIntervention. 2014 Feb;9(10):1189-94. doi: 10.4244/EIJV9I10A200.

Patients undergoing PCI from the femoral route by default radial operators are at high risk of vascular access-site complications.

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Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom.



Radial artery (RA) access for PCI has a lower incidence of vascular access-site (VAS) complications than the femoral artery (FA) approach. However, even for default radial operators certain patients are intervened upon from the FA. We examined the demographics and incidence of VAS complications when default radial operators resort to the FA for PCI.


The demographics and VAS complications were compared by access site retrospectively for all PCI cases performed by default radial operators (n=1,392). A modified ACUITY trial definition of major VAS complication was used. FA puncture occurred in 25.2% (351/1,392) of cases. Patients were more likely to be female, older and weigh less than patients undergoing PCI from the RA. The FA procedure was likely to be more complex with larger sheaths, more left main stem, graft and multivessel intervention, and there was a greater proportion of emergency cases. Despite increased case complexity, glycoprotein inhibitors were used less frequently in femoral cases (26.5% vs. 36.8%, p<0.001). A VAS complication occurred in 12.5% (44/351) of cases.


The risk factors for access-site bleeding are disproportionately high in the population requiring FA puncture by default radial operators, and as a result such patients have a high rate of vascular access-site complications.

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