Use of low-dose heparin with bivalirudin for ad-hoc transradial coronary interventions: Experience from a single center

Publication Date


Journal Title

J Invasive Cardiol


BACKGROUND: The majority of coronary angioplasty is done via the femoral artery, with vascular complications being a major adverse event. Bivalirudin has been shown to reduce bleeding complication and improve outcomes. The use of bivalirudin in radial interventions has largely been limited due to the routine use of heparin for the diagnostic procedure. In current practice there is a concern with using the traditional 5,000 Units of heparin during radial sheath insertion and administration of bivalirudin when proceeding to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). We describe outcome analysis of the use of low-dose heparin (2,500 Units) with bivalirudin in patients who underwent PCI comparing the adverse outcomes related to bleeding and radial artery occlusion. METHODS: The study was an institutional review board-approved retrospective analysis of patients who underwent coronary intervention using the radial approach and the use of bivalirudin over 9-month period. Patients on heparin/low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH), acute myocardial infarction or allergy to bivalirudin were excluded from the study. RESULTS: We evaluated 155 patients in the radial and 100 patients in the femoral group. The mean age of the population was 63 ± 11 years (males 68, weight 88 ± 18 kg) and 66 ± 12 years (males 56, weight 82 ± 16 kg) in the radial and femoral groups, respectively. Ninety-two percent of the radial and 98 of the femoral cases were elective. The vessels intervened upon were similar in the two groups (left main: 0.65 vs. 2, left anterior descending artery: 39 vs. 38, diagonal: 3.8 vs.7, left circumflex: 16 vs. 21, obtuse marginal: 7 vs. 11, right coronary artery: 30 vs.31, grafts: 1 vs. 5, in the radial and femoral groups, respectively; p > 0.05). The mean activated clotting time at the end of infusion was 376 ± 47 seconds in the radial and 331 ± 18 seconds in the femoral group. There was only 1 case of documented radial artery occlusion that resolved with 2 weeks of LMWH. Six patients in the radial group and 5 in the femoral group reported minor bruising. There were no reported events related to any major bleeding or transfusions. CONCLUSIONS: Bivalirudin in combination with low-dose heparin (2,500 Units) is safe to use in patients undergoing radial angioplasty with similar event rates to the femoral approach.

Volume Number


Issue Number



101 - 104

Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department




For the public and Northwell Health campuses