Radiation exposure in relation to the arterial access site used for diagnostic coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention: a systematic review and meta-analysis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Transradial access for cardiac catheterisation results in lower bleeding and vascular complications than the traditional transfemoral access route. However, the increased radiation exposure potentially associated with transradial access is a possible drawback of this method. Whether transradial access is associated with a clinically significant increase in radiation exposure that outweighs its benefits is unclear. Our aim was therefore to compare radiation exposure between transradial access and transfemoral access for diagnostic coronary angiograms and percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). METHODS: We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of the scientific literature by searching the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases with relevant terms, and cross-referencing relevant articles for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared radiation parameters in relation to access site, published from Jan 1, 1989, to June 3, 2014. Three investigators independently sorted the potentially relevant studies, and two others extracted data. We focused on the primary radiation outcomes of fluoroscopy time and kerma-area product, and used meta-regression to assess the changes over time. Secondary outcomes were operator radiation exposure and procedural time. We used both fixed-effects and random-effects models with inverse variance weighting for the main analyses, and we did confirmatory analyses for observational studies. FINDINGS: Of 1252 records identified, we obtained data from 24 published RCTs for 19 328 patients. Our primary analyses showed that transradial access was associated with a small but significant increase in fluoroscopy time for diagnostic coronary angiograms (weighted mean difference [WMD], fixed effect: 1·04 min, 95% CI 0·84-1·24; p<0·0001) and PCI (1·15 min, 95% CI 0·96-1·33; p<0·0001), compared with transfemoral access. Transradial access was also associated with higher kerma-area product for diagnostic coronary angiograms (WMD, fixed effect: 1·72 Gy·cm(2), 95% CI -0·10 to 3·55; p=0·06), and significantly higher kerma-area product for PCI (0·55 Gy·cm(2), 95% CI 0·08-1·02; p=0·02). Mean operator radiation doses for PCI with basic protection were 107 μSv (SD 110) with transradial access and 74 μSv (68) with transfemoral access; with supplementary protection, the doses decreased to 21 μSv (17) with transradial access and 46 μSv (9) with transfemoral. Meta-regression analysis showed that the overall difference in fluoroscopy time between the two procedures has decreased significantly by 75% over the past 20 years from 2 min in 1996 to about 30 s in 2014 (p<0·0001). In observational studies, differences and effect sizes remained consistent with RCTs. INTERPRETATION: Transradial access was associated with a small but significant increase in radiation exposure in both diagnostic and interventional procedures compared with transfemoral access. Since differences in radiation exposure narrow over time, the clinical significance of this small increase is uncertain and is unlikely to outweigh the clinical benefits of transradial access. FUNDING: None.


  • Plourde, Guillaume
  • Pancholy, Samir B
  • Nolan, Jim
  • Jolly, Sanjit
  • Rao, Sunil V
  • Amhed, Imdad
  • Bangalore, Sripal
  • Patel, Tejas
  • Dahm, Johannes B
  • Bertrand, Olivier F

publication date

  • November 2015