“Wrist Approach” Speeds Recovery after Heart Catheterization Procedures
The George Washington University Hospital is a Leader in Transradial Cardiac Catherization
Washington, DC (September 10, 2012) — Patients are up and moving much sooner after heart catheterizations thanks to a technique offered at The George Washington University Hospital. Rather than using the traditional approach of accessing the heart through an artery in the groin, most GW Hospital cardiologists thread a catheter through a blood vessel in the patient’s wrist instead.
This common procedure is used to get a better look at a patient’s heart arteries and, in some cases, to insert a balloon or stent to open up a blockage.
“One advantage of using the ‘transradial’ or wrist approach is that’s safer,” explains Jonathan Reiner, MD, Cardiologist and Director, Cardiac Catheterization, at GW Hospital. “There is less bleeding and a lower incidence of vascular complications.”
Reiner also says patient convenience and comfort are improved with the wrist technique. With the groin approach, patients’ movements are very restricted right after the procedure – which isn’t necessary with the newer technique.
“They don’t have to lay flat for many hours afterwards,” Reiner says. “If it wasn’t for the sedation, they would literally be able to walk out of the cath lab after the procedure. As soon as we are done, they are sitting up, they are able to communicate, walk around, use the bathroom, do whatever they need to do. Additionally, some of our patients who even have stents placed can go home the same day as well.”
Reiner says most patients are candidates for this type of procedure. Its gaining popularity in the U.S. Doctors at GW Hospital have been providing this option to patients for more than four years.
“In the United States, it’s just catching on,” Reiner says. “However, at the GW Hospital, we use this approach on more than 75 percent of our patients.”
Patients have positive feedback for Reiner – especially those who have undergone the traditional approach in the past.
“This is a good alternative that’s not only safer, but a lot more convenient,” Reiner says. “We know our own patients who have had femoral angiograms in the past and now have radial angiograms, they say they would never go back to having it from the groin, it’s just so much better and more convenient from their standpoint.”