Twenty-three years after the first coronary stents were placed using the radial artery in the wrist, the procedure has gained widespread use in much of Europe, Japan, India and other non-U.S. countries. In fact, the European Society of Cardiology recently gave their highest recommendation to the radial approach in patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome. They noted that new data shows “the radial approach is superior to the femoral (groin) approach not only in terms of vascular complications and major bleeding events, but also in reducing all-cause mortality.” In addition, studies demonstrate that radial PCIs can significantly reduce hospital stays and associated costs, as patients can return home soon after the procedure.
In the U.S., the radial approach for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has been steadily growing in popularity and, according to our market research, comprises approximately 40 percent of PCIs.
While radiation exposure to patients during PCI is similar regardless of the access site (radial or femoral), results of the REVERE trial  indicated that interventional cardiologists are exposed to significantly higher levels of radiation while performing left-radial PCI, as compared to femoral access procedures. Recently though, CorPath, the first robotic system for PCI, received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for PCIs performed via radial access.
This is a significant step in the adoption of robotic PCI. Not only will robotics play an expanding role in performing radial procedures that minimize risk or complications to the patient; the physicians that perform these procedures will greatly minimize their exposure to radiation and, ultimately, the occupational health hazards associated with chronic, long-term exposure to ionizing radiation.
 Pancholy SB, Joshi P, Shah S, et al. Randomized evaluation of vascular entry site and radiation exposure: the REVERE trial. J Am Coll Cardiol Intv. 2015; Epub ahead of print.