Heart Procedures Performed Through the Wrist Result in Few Complications

Port Arthur, Texas – January 18, 2012.  The Medical Center of Southeast Texas offers patients an alternative approach to heart procedures.  As a general rule, people undergoing heart catheterizations in the United States do so with the procedure starting at the femoral artery found in the groin.  However, the next time a patent at The Medical Center has a cardiac catheterization, he or she may be surprised to find that the pathway to the heart starts at the wrist (transradial access) and not the groin (transfemoral access).  Interventional cardiologists at The Medical Center have embraced the transradial approach as a way to reduce the complications, improve patient outcomes and to significantly improve the overall patient experience.
 
The transradial approach uses the wrist to gain access to arteries that lead to the patient’s heart.  Once access to the artery is made, the interventional cardiologist is able to perform either a diagnostic procedure, which determines if and where there are blockages that impede the flow of blood to the heart muscle, or an interventional procedure (angioplasty) to open up the blocked artery.
 
“We are expanding our use of transradial access for interventional procedures to ensure better patient outcomes and comfort,” said Matt Roberts, Chief Executive Officer.  “As a general rule, patients and referring physicians have preferred this procedure as it enables the patients to be mobile much faster and with less post-procedure pain.  It’s better for patients and it’s better for our healthcare system.”
 
Each year, more than a million cardiac catheterizations are performed in the United States, with most starting with a puncture to the femoral artery in the groin.  While this is the most common approach, the entry point is sometimes difficult to access and has a greater associated risk of bleeding complications, especially in women, post-procedure pain and a slower recovery period.  Post procedure, patients receiving transfemoral access are generally required to lie still for four-to-six hours while pressure is applied to the access area to ensure no further bleeding before the patient can get up and walk around.
 
For certain types of patients, including obese patients, women and the elderly, and patients with peripheral vascular disease, transradial access provides documented reductions in bleeding complications, including swelling, less back pain and quicker recovery.  In fact, patients treated with transradial access are able to sit up and walk around almost immediately after the procedure.  As a result, these patients are more likely to be discharged faster than those treated with transfemoral access.
 
In this past year, there has been a growing interest among medical professionals in the United States to learn the transradial technique as a way to reduce bleeding complications, procedure costs, shorten hospital stays and improve patient satisfaction.

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