Cardiac catheterization may be performed by your physician in order to detect a heart problem or to help treat a known problem. Some of the uses of catheterization are identifying narrow or blocked blood vessels, removing a tissue sample, measuring oxygen levels within the heart, angioplasty, valve replacement, or heart arrhythmia treatment. The benefits are overwhelming. Cardiac catheterization is frequently responsible for identifying and treating smaller problems before they develop into much larger ones in the form of a heart attack or stroke. However, for all of its benefits, there is still room for improvement.
In the past, catheterizations were primarily performed through the femoral artery in the groin. This access point provided for generally successful procedures, but it also carries an increased risk of nerve damage and bleeding, and requires patients to remain in bed for several hours following their catheterization. Currently, however, an alternative is gaining traction in the U.S. Transradial catheterization through the wrist offers a means by which to perform all of the same catheterization procedures but with less risk and greater comfort for the patient. The major benefits include:
Increased patient comfort – Groin access requires significant downtime for patients, including 4-6 hours of strict bedrest. Additionally, problems such as urinary retention, back pain, and femoral nerve neuropathy are higher with this method. Transradial catheterization, on the other hand, requires virtually no bedrest. In fact, study results of surveyed patients reveal that 97 percent prefer the transradial method, primarily because of increased mobility.
Reduced Cost – Shortened hospital stays associated with transradial catheterization create cost savings across the board. Not only are complications lessened, but a decreased need for staffing throughout the recovery process also contributes to lower costs. One study in particular has linked the method used in percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to a savings in excess of $800 per patient versus transfemoral access.
Reduced Serious Complications – Bleeding risks represent the most common potential complication associated with transfemoral access. Bleeding associated with the access site is significant, but most notably, there is an increased risk of retroperitoneal hemorrhage (RPH) not associated with transradial procedures. This complication can be life-threatening with a mortality risk of 4-12 percent.
As transradial catheterization gains momentum, patients are more frequently seeking out physicians who can provide it. In the Zachary and the Greater Baton Rouge area, Lane Regional Medical Center is that facility. In conjunction with Cardiovascular Institute of the South, Lane is capable of offering the most highly skilled area physicians with state-of-the-art technology. Transradial catheterization can be time consuming and cumbersome to perform, although the benefits merit such effort. It requires expertise, skill, and ample training, all of which our physicians possess. Click here to learn more about our Cardiovascular Center and Services.