Introduction: Superior outcomes with transradial (TRPCI) versus transfemoral coronary intervention (TFPCI) in the setting of acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) have been suggested by earlier studies. However, this effect was not evident in randomized controlled trials (RCTs), suggesting a possible allocation bias in observational studies. Since important studies with heterogeneous results regarding mortality have been published recently, we aimed to perform an updated review and meta-analysis on the safety and efficacy of TRPCI compared to TFPCI in the setting of STEMI. Material and methods: Electronic databases were searched for relevant studies from January 1993 to November 2012. Outcome parameters of RCTs were pooled with the DerSimonian-Laird random-effects model. Results: Twelve RCTs involving 5,124 patients were identified. According to the pooled analysis, TRPCI was associated with a significant reduction in major bleeding (odds ratio (OR): 0.52 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38-0.71, p < 0.0001)). The risk of mortality and major adverse events was significantly lower after TRPCI (OR = 0.58 (95% CI: 0.43-0.79), p = 0.0005 and OR = 0.67 (95% CI: 0.52-0.86), p = 0.002 respectively). Conclusions: Robust data from randomized clinical studies indicate that TRPCI reduces both ischemic and bleeding complications in STEMI. These findings support the preferential use of radial access for primary PCI.
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