In order to perform many of the most common cardiac procedures, doctors need to access the heart arteries. Whether they’re taking pictures, inflating an angioplasty or placing a stent, cardiologists are looking for better ways to gain access.
“Angioplasties and stents are both completed through long tubes called catheters, that are typically inserted into an artery either around the crease of the groin or in the arm. Now we use the wrist arteries as well,” Dr. Robert Grohowski, cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
For years, the gold standard in this country has been to go through the groin. But new figures show the number of wrist procedures, or the ‘transradial’ approach is increasing five-fold.
“The advantage is, the wrist can be bandaged and not limit your walking or activity for that period of time, up to a week after the procedure,” says Grohowski.
Recovery from a wrist procedure is simpler for patients, who aren’t forced to lie flat for hours in order to prevent complications. Some people go home the same day. This procedure is still cutting edge for many doctors.
“It’s a trickier procedure because the artery is much smaller and it affects our ability to do some of the work that we need to do, but I think in the future we’ll see more and more procedures done in that manner,” says Grohowski.
It’s important to consult with your doctor to discuss which technique they’re most comfortable with. Patients looking for a less invasive approach for their heart procedure may find, it’s all in the wrist.