During most traditional diagnostic cardiac catheterization procedures, a cardiologist uses the femoral artery in the leg as the entry point for a catheter tube, which is guided through the body’s arteries to the heart. The relatively new radial artery approach allows a cardiologist to insert the catheter through the radial artery in the wrist.
Once the catheter has reached the heart, a contrast dye is injected through the tube, which allows cardiologists to identify cholesterol deposits – or plaque – in diseased arteries that may be blocking blood flow.
Radial artery catheterization offers patients several benefits:
· Less bleeding, meaning less chance of needing a blood transfusion
· Less risk of nerve trauma
· Lower rates of complication
· Shorter recovery/more comfortable (patients can move around immediately after the procedure rather than having to stay in bed for several hours)
Currently, less than five percent of hospitals in the United States employ the radial artery approach to catheterization. Lake Pointe Medical Center is proud to be one of them.