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Radial Artery Catheterization: Cardiac Catheterization Through the Wrist

Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital is proud to offer an innovative approach to cardiac catheterization: radial artery catheterization. Currently, less than five percent of hospitals in the United States offer this advanced procedure.

What is Radial Catheterization?

According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 82 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease. In many cases, people who experience chest pain or who experience an emergent event - such as a heart attack - undergo a cardiac catheterization to determine what the level of heart damage or disease may be. The procedure also may be used to open blocked arteries that are limiting blood flow through the heart and preventing oxygenated blood from traveling properly through the body. Cardiac catheterizations are performed on more than one million Americans each year.

For many years, the preferred entry point for a cardiac catheterization has been in the groin area through the femoral artery. However, an innovative option called radial catheterization involves insertion of the catheter through the radial artery in the wrist.

Benefits of Radial Catheterization:

Radial catheterization may offer a number of advantages, including:

  • Lowered risk of complications due to excessive bleeding
  • Mobility immediately after the procedure (instead of immobility for at least four hours with femoral entry)
  • Less pain
  • Generally faster recovery time and more rapid return to work/life

Who Can Have Radial Artery Catheterization?

Unfortunately, not all patients can have radial artery catheterization. To be a candidate, patients must have good blood supply to their hands, through both the radial artery and the ulnar artery. The blood supply from both arteries has to be good in the rare case that the radial artery becomes blocked after the procedure. If the blood flow through both arteries is good, then if the radial artery becomes blocked, the ulnar artery can take over entirely and supply enough blood to the whole hand.

Learn More

Article - Effectiveness and safety of transradial artery access for cardiac catheterization

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