Bleeding complications in patients with acute coronary syndromes are a significant predictor of mortality.
Trans-radial approach (TRA) is a promising strategy to reduce bleedings in patients undergoing invasive coronary procedures. Recently, two multicentre prospective randomized trials aimed to test whether TRA, compared to trans-femoral approach (TFA), may improve clinical outcome in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction: the RIFLE STEAC and STEMI-RADIAL.
In the RIFLE STEACS, the primary endpoint of 30-day NACEs occurred in 68 patients (13.6%) in the TRA arm and 105 patients (21.0%) in the TFA arm (p = 0.003). In particular, compared with TFA, TRA was associated with significantly lower rates of cardiac mortality (5.2% vs. 9.2% , p = 0.020), bleeding (7.8% vs. 12.2%, p = 0.026), and shorter hospital stay (5 days, [range, 4 to 7 days]; vs. 6 [range, 5 to 8 days]; p = 0.03). In the STEMI-RADIAL, the primary endpoint of major bleeding or access site complications occurred in 7.2 percent of the TFA patients and 1.4 percent of the TRA patients (p=0.0001). The rate of MACE at 30 days was 4.2 percent in the TFA group, and 3.5 percent in the TRA group (p=0.7). The results of two recent trials support the systematic adoption of TRA instead of TFA approach to improve the clinical outcome of STEMI patients. In the present paper, we overview the results of these two trials and put them in the context of previous scientific evidences collected in this field.