Background Femoral access is the traditional approach for endovascular carotid artery stenting. Radial access is increasingly used as an alternative approach due to its known anatomical advantages in patients with unfavorable aortic arch morphology via the femoral approach and its excellent access site safety profile. Our objective was to analyze procedural success using radial access for carotid artery stenting as reported in the literature.
Methods Three online databases were systematically searched following PRISMA guidelines for studies (n ≥20) using radial artery access for carotid artery stenting (1999–2018). Random-effects meta-analysis was used to pool the procedural success (successful stent placement with no requirement for crossover to femoral access), mortality, and complication rates associated with radial access.
Results Seven eligible studies reported procedural success outcomes with a pooled meta-analysis rate of 90.8% (657/723; 95% CI 86.7% to 94.2%; I2=53.1%). Asymptomatic radial artery occlusion occurred in 5.9% (95% CI 4.1% to 8.0%; I2=0%) and forearm hematoma in 1.4% (95% CI 0.4% to 2.9%; I2=0%). Risk of minor stroke/transient ischemic attack was 1.9% (95% CI 0.6% to 3.8%; I2=42.3%) and major stroke was 1.0% (95% CI 0.4% to 1.8%; I2=0%). There were three deaths across the seven studies (0.6%; 95% CI 0.2% to 1.3%; I2=0%). The meta-analysis was limited by statistically significant heterogeneity for the primary outcome of procedural success.
Conclusion Radial access for carotid artery stenting has a high procedural success rate with low rates of mortality, access site complications, and cerebrovascular complications. The potential benefits of this approach in patients with unfavorable aortic arch access should be explored in a prospective randomized trial.
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