The traditional approach to percutaneous coronary angiography and intervention (PCI) is by femoral artery access. However, in recent years, a paradigm shift has occurred in catheterization laboratories across the nation: transradial PCI. In 2007, only 1.3% of all PCIs done in the United States used the transradial approach. This percentage has now increased to more than 20%. This dramatic increase is chiefly due to higher patient satisfaction rates, reduced bed rest and recovery times, and a 78% lower risk for bleeding and vascular complications with transradial procedures than for the femoral approach.

In 2008, the director of Women’s Heart Health, an interventional cardiologist, brought transradial PCI to our facility to offer patients, especially female patients, a safer PCI option. With femoral access, women have a higher risk of PCI bleeding complications than men have (2.86% vs 1.22%, P < .01).3...

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