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MRH offers new advanced procedure

Each year, more than one million cardiac catheterizations are performed in the United States. Most of these procedures are performed through the groin to access the arteries that provide blood supply to the heart. At Mary Rutan Hospital, a new transradial approach to the heart catherization procedure is being used. Now, many of the catherization procedures at MRH can be done by going through the wrist instead of the groin. Called “transradial access,” this emerging approach has increased advantages for patients, including reduced complications, increased patient comfort, and quicker recovery time.

“We are expanding our use of transradial access for Heart Catherizations at Mary Rutan Hospital.  Use of this new approach ensures better patient outcomes and comfort,” says William Houser, Cardiologist at the Ross Heart Hospital and Credentialed physician with Mary Rutan Hospital. “As a general rule we see patients sitting up and mobile much faster after the procedure and with less post-procedure pain.”

“Small but significant changes can have a great impact on medical outcomes, costs, and patient satisfaction, and a change in access points for catheterization is one of these,” adds Dr. Houser.

For both groin (transfemoral) and wrist (transradial) catheterizations, once the artery is engaged, the diagnostic and interventional procedures are virtually the same. One major difference, however, is what happens at the end of each procedure. With groin access, the patient may end up lying flat for four to six hours after the procedure. This is necessary to ensure the puncture site does not bleed. With wrist access, patients are able to get up almost immediately after the procedure, allowing them to walk, sit upright, use the bathroom, and eat and drink.

Dr. Houser emphasizes that transradial access can have special benefits for women, the elderly, those with peripheral vascular disease, and obese patients. For example, he says, while the transfemoral approach is more common in the United States, the entry point is sometimes difficult to access and has a greater associated risk of complications, including bleeding – especially in women. In women and these other patient groups, Dr. Houser estimates transradial access reduces the risk of bleeding complications by 50 percent or more in these populations, compared to transfemoral access.

In general, the benefits of transradial access procedures over transfemoral ones: decreased incidence of major entry site complications, mainly bleeding; minimized risk of nerve damage, which is more common in the femoral approach due to the close proximity of the femoral artery and nerve; easier vascular access for interventional cardiologists and closure of the needle puncture in certain patients, such as those who are overweight or obese; significantly decreased time to patient ambulation and discharge, as well as shorter hospital stays; improved overall patient comfort and satisfaction, and reduced post-procedural costs resulting from fewer complications and/or follow-up visits.

Mary Rutan Hospital is one of only a few local hospitals who are offering this innovative procedure.  For more information on transradial catheterization please contact the Cardiology Department at 937-599-1405.

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