Today I saw hard statistical evidence that the transradial approach is growing exponentially in the U.S. This photo, taken this afternoon, during the half-day transradial symposium at TCT2011 says it all. 800 cardiologists were packed into room 104 of the Moscone Center in San Francisco to hear 5 hours of presentations and discussions on the transradial approach to diagnostic angiography, angioplasty and stent placement.
As transradial pioneer Dr. Tejas Patel said to me after the session, inadvertently doing a San Francisco shout-out, “It was a Full House!”
It was more than a full house, with doctors lined up against the back and side walls and, of course, people leaving and more coming in. Most likely, well over 1,000 cardiologists attended all or part of this session.
What’s striking is that two years ago, the TCT meeting held its first half-day seminar on the transradial approach. This is a technique where catheter access is made via the radial artery in the wrist instead of the femoral artery in the groin. It was touted as having fewer complications, less bleeding and much greater patient comfort, and was used extensively in Europe, Canada, India, Japan — pretty much everywhere except in the U.S.
So in 2009 transradial was sort of a fringe topic, and the TCT organizers booked a room that held about 130 people. (Mind you, the entire meeting attracts over 11,000 attendees.) As I wrote back then in this blog, the demand rapidly outpaced the room, with over 100 cardiologists crowding the hallway outside the room to hear the presentations. A second room was quickly opened, offering an audio and slide feed.
I said back then that “radial was hot“. But now I’d say “on fire”. Today’s session was still SRO, but the audience was fives times as large as two years ago.
That’s what is called in clinical trials “statistically significant”!