Brewing the right cocktail for radial intervention

Tycho Vuurmans, David Hilton
Indian Heart Journal 2010, 62 (3): 221-5
Radial access angioplasty has increased in popularity worldwide due to its decrease of access site complications, early patient mobility, patient comfort and lower costs. In a minority of patients, radial artery occlusion and radial artery spasm occurs. Because of the dual blood supply to the hand, radial artery occlusion is not associated with major clinical sequelae but prevention is important. Radial artery spasm rarely leads to serious vascular complications but can cause patient discomfort and can result in prolonging or failure of the procedure. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies have been evaluated to prevent radial artery occlusion and radial artery spasm. A number of pharmacological 'cocktails' have been successfully tested but there is currently no agreement on the optimal combination of agents. In order to evaluate the best strategy to prevent radial artery occlusion and radial artery spasm we reviewed the relevant studies to date. From these studies it is clear that a 'cocktail' of agents should be given before transradial coronary angiography or angioplasty. A combination of heparin, nitroglycerin and verapamil is associated with the best preventive outcome.

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