Academic Editor: Arnold Seto
Arterial access in coronary angiography has always been an important issue. Convincing prognostic data from large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the first place but also safe performance of same-day-discharge after diagnostic and interventional procedures, improved patient comfort and cost-effectiveness led to a paradigm shift from the transfemoral approach (TFA) to the transradial approach (TRA) in several clinical situations. Consequently, today’s relevant guidelines recommend a radial-first strategy as default approach. However, there is still strong controversy among interventional cardiologists resulting in delayed spread of the TRA causing significant regional differences. One major critics point is the rate of postprocedural radial artery occlusion (RAO) after using the traditional puncture site at the proximal radial artery (pTRA) which was registered too high in certain centers. A new access using the distal radial artery (dTRA) in the area of the snuff box (SB) and the dorsal box (DB) has been proven to minimize RAO and enabling even complex interventions using 7F guiding catheters. Although, dTRA seems to be an advantageous option, this approach is still not widely used. This review—addressed to beginners and even advanced interventionalists—presents all arterial access routes in interventional cardiology. It focusses on those to be routinely preferred and also on the possibility to guide the puncture with ultrasound. Thereby, the various approaches, including the transulnar (TRU) but also the still relevant TFA approach, are discussed in detail. Thereby, we introduce our philosophy of “radial freedom” and a new classification for TRA.