Percutaneous axillary artery access for endovascular interventions

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As endovascular therapy becomes increasingly complex, adjunct techniques such as upper extremity arterial access facilitate visceral branch interventions. The purpose of this study was to assess the viability of axillary artery percutaneous access in endovascular repair.


Records of all patients undergoing axillary artery percutaneous access as part of an endovascular intervention from December 2015 to December 2016 were examined. Demographics of the patients (age, sex, medical comorbidities, smoking status, and anticoagulation) were documented. Each case was examined for technical success and perioperative complications, including hematoma, brachial plexus injury, and return to the operating room. Early functional outcomes were assessed using clinic follow-up documentation.


During the study interval, 25 axillary artery punctures in a total of 19 patients were performed for endovascular intervention. The mean age was 72 years; most patients were male (68%), and the cohort had a typical vascular comorbidity profile (hypertension in 84%, hyperlipidemia in 90%, diabetes in 21%, coronary artery disease in 58%, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 47%; 90% were active or former smokers). Axillary access was obtained as part of complex endovascular aneurysm repair in 13 patients, mesenteric vessel intervention in 3 patients, and iliac intervention in 3 patients. Sheath size was most frequently 6F (6 punctures) or 7F (15 punctures). Closure devices included Perclose (Abbott Vascular, Santa Clara, Calif) in 36% and Angio-Seal (Terumo Interventional Systems, Somerset, NJ) in 64%. There were two perioperative deaths and one instance of return to the operating room for hematoma. There was no perioperative stroke, axillary occlusion, or severe brachial plexus injury. One patient had transient ipsilateral postoperative thumb numbness, and one patient had residual bleeding after closure requiring manual pressure.


Percutaneous axillary artery access is a viable strategy to facilitate complex endovascular interventions. This technique avoids the need for brachial or axillary artery exposure and allows larger sheath sizes because of the caliber of the axillary artery. There were no major neurologic or ischemic complications. This technique is a relatively safe and practical alternative to approaches involving exclusively femoral and brachial access.

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