Comparison of Right and Left Upper Limb Arterial Variants in Patients Undergoing Bilateral Transradial Procedures

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Transradial approach (TRA), when compared with transfemoral, improves the safety of percutaneous coronary procedures. Arterial axis variants are known to hinder the performance of transradial approach percutaneous coronary procedures. Data on the occurrence of arterial axis variants in the right and left arm arterial axes of individual patients are lacking.

Methods and Results—

From a single-center prospective registry, we selected all patients in whom bilateral upper limb arterial anatomy was assessed based on the performance of left and right radial catheterization obtained during the same or during repeat coronary diagnostic or interventional procedure(s). The occurrence of upper right and left limb arterial axis variants was classified according to the previously described operative ABC classification. A total of 610 patients were identified. An ABC upper limb arterial axis variant was detected in 156 (25.6%) patients. Variants were right-sided only in 65 (11.0%), left-sided only in 40 (6.6%), and bilateral in 46 (7.5%) patients. Thus, arterial axis variants were significantly more common in the right side (P=0.02). Bilateral arterial variants were significantly associated with age, female sex, and valvulopathy. Both A (radial/brachial) and B (axillary/subclavian/innominate) variants exhibited concordance across the 2 sides (odds ratio, 7.2; 95% confidence interval, 4.1–12.7 and 8.0; 95% confidence interval, 2.1–30.9, respectively).


The occurrence of an anatomic variant potentially hindering transradial approach coronary diagnostic or interventional procedures is bilateral in <8% of cases and is more common in the right arm. Such information may guide, during the clinical practice, the access selection in the case of repeat procedures or need for additional accesses.

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