Achieve Radial Access with Ease

Merit Medical PreludeEase Hydrophilic Sheath Introducers

By Alicia Armeli

PreludeEase™—Merit Medical’s newest line of Hydrophilic Sheath Introducers—has made the transradial artery approach even better. Studies show that hydrophilic coating on sheath introducers can reduce the incidence of artery spasm and improve patient comfort during transradial diagnostic and interventional coronary procedures.1

In recent years, the transradial approach has become increasingly popular for diagnostic and interventional coronary procedures. In comparison to transfemoral access, the transradial approach is linked to fewer vascular complications, shorter hospital stays, and reduced mortality.2 Financially, using the transradial technique may reduce direct and indirect hospital costs, while minimizing the overall financial burden from a larger social perspective.3,4

Notwithstanding these benefits, vascular complications can arise. More specifically, radial artery spasm is a common complication during transradial procedures and can lead to severe patient discomfort and diminished procedural success.1,5

A team of researchers at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in Liverpool, UK, examined the impact hydrophilic-coated sheath introducers had on the rate of radial artery spasm.1 In all, 790 patients scheduled for a transradial coronary procedure were randomly assigned hydrophilic-coated or uncoated sheath introducers. Results published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that radial artery spasm was seen significantly less in patients using a hydrophilic-coated sheath introducer (19.0% vs. 39.9%). Within the hydrophilic-coated group, less discomfort was also reported (15.1% vs. 28.5%). Sheath length didn’t influence these outcomes.

These results only mirror findings of numerous other studies. Saito et al. found sheath introducers with hydrophilic coating to lessen friction resistance by 70% in an in vitro model, which helped with sheath removal.6

A study published in Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions further investigated whether hydrophilic coating reduced the required force of sheath removal and any associated patient discomfort.5 Through a randomized double-blind comparison, Kiemeneij et al. analyzed 90 patients undergoing transradial percutaneous coronary intervention. Each patient received a sheath of identical length and diameter—the only difference being the presence or absence of hydrophilic coating.

Findings showed 3 patients (7%) in the coated group reported discomfort versus 12 patients (27%) in the uncoated group. Required force, measured in maximum and mean pullback force, was also significantly lower in the coated group.5

In addition to hydrophilic coating that extends to the sheath tip, the kink-resistant PreludeEASE tubing helps to provide procedural reliability. Smooth transitions between wire to dilator and dilator to sheath were designed for ease of insertion and can help enhance patient comfort. Available in 4F through 7F diameters and multiple lengths, PreludeEASE anticipates various clinical needs and diverse patient anatomy without compromising its slim profile and large inner diameter.

PreludeEASE sheaths are available in a variety of kit configurations, including one and two-part access needles, several guide wire options, a BowTie™ Guide Wire Insertion Device, and more. In addition, Merit can customize PreludeEASE radial access kits to meet both specific and a wide variety of clinical needs.

PreludeEASE Hydrophilic Sheath Introducers complement Merit’s growing line of products designed to support radial access procedures from preparation to hemostasis. In this way, PreludeEASE can help interventional cardiologists not only perform radial access procedures with success—but with ease.

Please consult product labels and inserts for any indications, contraindications, potential complications, warnings, precautions and directions for use.


  1. Rathore, S., Stables, R., Pauriah, M., Hakeem, A., Mills, J., & Palmer, N. et al. (2010). Impact of length and hydrophilic coating of the introducer sheath on radial artery spasm during transradial coronary intervention. JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, 3(5): 475-483.
  2. Schussler, J., Vasudevan, A., von Bose, L., Won, J., & McCullough, P. (2016). Comparative efficacy of transradial Versus transfemoral approach for coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention. The American Journal Of Cardiology, 118(4): 482-488.
  3. Amin, A., House, J., Safley, D., Chhatriwalla, A., Giersiefen, H., & Bremer, A., et al. (2013). Costs of transradial percutaneous coronary intervention. JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, 6(8): 827-834. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2013.04.014.
  4. Kołtowski, Ł., Filipiak, K., Kochman, J., Pietrasik, A., Huczek, Z., & Balsam, P. et al. (2016). Cost-effectiveness of radial vs. femoral approach in primary percutaneous coronary intervention in STEMI – Randomized, control trial. Hellenic Journal Of Cardiology, 57(3): 198-202.
  5. Kiemeneij, F., Fraser, D., Slagboom, T., Laarman, G., & van der Wieken, R. (2003). Hydrophilic coating aids radial sheath withdrawal and reduces patient discomfort following transradial coronary intervention: A randomized double-blind comparison of coated and uncoated sheaths. Catheterization And Cardiovascular Interventions, 59(2): 161-164.
  6. Saito, S., Tanaka, S., Hiroe, Y., Miyashita, Y., Takahashi, S., & Satake, S. et al. (2002). Usefulness of hydrophilic coating on artery sheath introducer in transradial coronary intervention. Catheterization And Cardiovascular Interventions, 56(3): 328-332.

Alicia Armeli is a Freelance Writer and Editor who specializes in medical technology, health, and wellness.