U.S. doctors prefer the radial artery in the wrist to unclog arteries in the heart instead of the traditional way through the femoral artery in the groin, a new study reveals.

A new study has shown that the choice of following the transradial percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has significantly increased in the United States in the last six years. Doctors in the U.S. are choosing to unclog the heart arteries via the wrist instead of following the traditional femoral artery in the groin route, which involves higher bleeding complications in comparison.

The use of femoral access has been followed in the U.S for PCI, whereas the transradial PCI is widely used in Europe, Lead author Dr. Dmitriy Feldman, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital department of medicine, said in a  American Heart Association press release.

 The process of unblocking heart arteries is known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary angioplasty. This process is used in the treatment of narrowed coronary arteries of the heart due to cholesterol build-up.

For this study, researchers looked at the data of almost 3 million coronary angioplasty cases in 1,381 health centers gathered between 2007 and 2012. Doctors followed the radial artery approach rarely, one in fifty PCI procedures, between 2004 and 2007. But the study results showed that the numbers increased by the end of the study. In 2012, one in every six PCI procedures involved the radial artery approach.

Researchers noted several benefits of the transradial PCI procedure during the course of the study. Radial artery approach resulted in fewer bleeding and vascular complications. The transradial PCI had 2.67 percent bleeding complication, while the femoral artery procedure accounted for 6.08 percent. The vascular complications in transradial PCI was 0.16 percent against 0.45 percent for femoral artery procedures.

Despite overall lower complication rate with transradial PCI procedures, the researchers found that the high-risk group such as, older patients, women and those with acute coronary syndrome, were less likely to be offered the procedure.

But researchers also found that the doctors in the academic institutions and centers in New England are using the transradial PCI at a much higher rate than any other centers in the U.S.

The results are published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.