Background Few studies have compared technical success and effectiveness of transradial access (TRA) versus transfemoral access (TFA) for mechanical thrombectomy (MT) for acute ischemic stroke (AIS). We compared the two approaches for technical success, effectiveness, and outcomes.
Methods We retrospectively compared TRA with TFA for AIS MT at our institute. We additionally performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies describing the use of TRA alone or in comparison with TFA for MT. Primary outcomes included rate of successful reperfusion (thrombolysis in cerebral infarction (TICI) >2b), number of passes, access-site complications, and 3- month mortality and favorable functional outcomes (modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score 0–2).
Results A total of 222 consecutive patients (TRA=93, TFA=129) were included in our case series. The rate of successful reperfusion was significantly higher for the TFA cohort (91.4% vs 79.6%, P=0.01) with lower mean number of passes (1.8±1.2 vs 2.4±1.6, P=0.014). Three-month mortality in the TFA group was lower (22.1% vs 40.9% for the TRA cohort (P=0.004), with a higher rate of favorable functional outcomes (51.3% vs 34.1%, P=0.015). A meta-analysis of 10 studies showed significant heterogeneity in rates of successful reperfusion (57.1% to 95.6%, heterogeneity=67.55%, P=0.001). None of the previous comparative studies reported 3-month mortality and functional outcomes.
Conclusions This case series demonstrate a higher successful reperfusion rate, fewer passes, lower 3-month mortality, and improved 3-month functional outcomes with TFA. The systematic review highlights the inadequacy of existing evidence. Prospective comparative studies are needed before a ‘radial-first’ approach can be adopted for stroke intervention.
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