Bleeding is a major limitation of antithrombotic therapy among invasively managed non–ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes (NSTE-ACS) patients; therefore, we examined the use of radial access and its association with outcomes among NSTE-ACS patients.Methods
Clinical characteristics and geographic variation in radial access were examined, as well as its association with bleeding, red blood cell transfusion and ischemic outcomes (96-hour death/myocardial infarction/recurrent ischemic/thrombotic bailout; 30-day death/myocardial infarction; 1-year death) in the EARLY versus delayed, provisional eptifibatide in acute coronary syndromes trial.Results
Of 9126 patients, 13.5% underwent radial-access catheterization. Female sex, age, weight, and prior revascularization were inversely associated with radial access, and its use varied widely by country (2%-97%). There were fewer GUSTO severe/moderate bleeds and red blood cell transfusions in the radial access group; however, it was attenuated after adjustment (odds ratio 0.73, 95% confidence intervals [CI] [0.50-1.06], P = .094 and 1.00 [0.71-1.40] P = .991). Ischemic outcomes did not differ by access site.Conclusions
In this post hoc analysis of a large clinical trial, there was significant international variation in use of radial access for NSTE-ACS patients undergoing invasive management, and it was preferentially used in those at lower risk for bleeding. Radial approach was not associated with a significant reduction in either bleeding or ischemic outcomes. Further study is needed to determine whether wider application of radial approach to acute coronary syndrome patients at high risk for bleeding improves overall outcomes.