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Original research
Implementation of a radial long sheath protocol for radial artery spasm reduces access site conversions in neurointerventions


Background Many neurointerventionalists have transitioned to transradial access (TRA) as the preferred approach for neurointerventions as studies continue to demonstrate fewer access site complications than transfemoral access. However, radial artery spasm (RAS) remains one of the most commonly cited reasons for access site conversions. We discuss the benefits, techniques, and indications for using the long radial sheath in RAS and present our experience after implementing a protocol for routine use.

Methods A retrospective review of all patients undergoing neurointerventions via TRA at our institution from July 2018 to April 2020 was performed. In November 2019, we implemented a long radial sheath protocol to address RAS. Patient demographics, RAS rates, radial artery diameter, and access site conversions were compared before and after the introduction of the protocol.

Results 747 diagnostic cerebral angiograms and neurointerventional procedures in which TRA was attempted as the primary access site were identified; 247 were performed after the introduction of the long radial sheath protocol. No significant differences in age, gender, procedure type, sheath sizes, and radial artery diameter were seen between the two cohorts. Radial anomalies and small radial diameters were more frequently seen in patients with RAS. Patients with clinically significant RAS more often required access site conversion (p<0.0001), and in our multivariable model use of the long sheath was the only covariate protective against radial failure (OR 0.061, 95% CI 0.007 to 0.517; p=0.0103).

Conclusion In our experience, we have found that the use of long radial sheaths significantly reduces the need for access site conversions in patients with RAS during cerebral angiography and neurointerventions.

  • angiography
  • technique
  • intervention
  • artery
  • device

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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