Heart procedures performed through the wrist result in fewer bleeding complications and quicker patient recovery.
Each year, more than one million cardiac catheterizations are performed in the United States and most of them go through the groin to gain access to the arteries that lead to the heart (transfemerol access).
Today, interventional cardiologists at Meadowview Regional Medical Center are performing more and more heart catheterizations by going through the wrist (transradial access) rather than the groin. This access approach is making a real difference in patient outcomes, patient recovery and patient satisfaction.
This is not a new procedure. Actually, the first transradial diagnostic catheterization was performed by Dr. Lucien Campeau, a French-Canadian physician, in the late 1980’s. By 1993, a research team in Amsterdam, led by Dr. Ferdinand Kiemeneij, began using the transradial technique for interventional procedures.
Once the artery is engaged, whether transradially or transfemorally, the diagnostic and interventional procedures are virtually the same. One big difference, however, is what happens at the end of each procedure. With transfemoral access, the patient must generally lie flat for 4 to 6 hours post procedure to that an attending nurse or technician can apply pressure to the groin. This is necessary to ensure the puncture site reaches hemostasis (no further bleeding). With transradial access, the patient is able to get up almost immediately after the procedure, allowing the patient to use the bathroom, sit up and read a newspaper, eat or have a cup of coffee.
While the transfemoral approach is more common in the United States, the entry point is sometimes difficult to access and has a greater associated risk of complications, including bleeding, especially in women. It can also result in greater post-procedure pain and a slower recovery period.
For certain types of patients, including obese patients, women and the elderly, and patients with peripheral artery disease, transradial access reduces the risk of bleeding complications by 58% as compared to transfemoral access.
Meadowview Regional Medical Center is one of the first centers in the area to offer this alternative approach to treating cardiac patients.