Transulnar Versus Transradial Artery Approach for Coronary Angioplasty: The PCVI-CUBA Study

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To compare in terms of efficacy and safety the transulnar to the transradial approach for coronary angiography and angioplasty.


Opposite to the transradial approach, which is now widely used in catheterization laboratories worldwide, the ulnar artery approach is rarely used for cardiac catheterization.


Diagnostic coronarography, followed or not by angioplasty, was performed by transulnar or transradial approach, chosen at random. A positive (normal) direct or reverse Allen's test was required before tempting the radial or the ulnar approach, respectively. MACE were recorded till 1-month follow-up. Doppler ultrasound assessment of the forearm vessels was scheduled for all the angioplastied patients.


Successful access was obtained in 93.1% of patients in the ulnar group (n= 216), and in 95.5% of patients in the radial group (n= 215),P= NS. One hundred and three and 105 angioplasty procedures were performed in 94 and 95 patients in ulnar and radial group, with success in 95.2% and 96.2% of procedures in ulnar and radial group, respectively (P= NS). Freedom from MACE at 1-month follow-up was observed in 93 patients in both groups (97.8% for ulnar group and 95.8% for radial group),P= NS. Asymptomatic access site artery occlusion occurred in 5.7% of patients after transulnar and in 4.7% of patients after transradial angioplasty. A big forearm hematoma, and a little A-V fistula were observed, each in one patient, in the ulnar group.


The transulnar approach for diagnostic and therapeutic coronary interventions is a safe and effective alternative to the transradial approach, as both techniques share a high success rate and an extremely low incidence of entry site complications. The transulnar approach has the potential to spare injury to the radial artery in anticipation of its use as a coronary bypass conduit.

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