Cardiac catheterization is a common procedure used to diagnose and treat many different cardiac ailments, in mainly treating coronary artery disease. Cardiac catheterization involves threading a small tube up your artery to look inside your heart. While in the heart, some people have an angioplasty done. That is when a balloon is inflated at the end of the tube, which opens up the narrowed arteries inside the heart. A stent is typically placed to keep the vessel opened. Traditionally, interventional cardiologists would place the catheter up the femoral artery in the leg. However, now more and more interventional cardiologists are opting for the radial artery in the arm.
What is Radial Artery Access?
With radial artery access, the catheter will be placed through the radial artery in the wrist and threaded up into the heart. Not every patient is suitable for radial access; your specialist will have to make that determination.
What are the Risks with Radial Artery Access?
The procedure is safe, but there can be a risk of bleeding. If you do not have good blood flow to your arm, your doctor may have to complete the cardiac catheterization through the femoral artery in your leg. To minimize risk, let your doctor know all medications and supplements you are on. Follow all pre-procedure instructions including not eating after midnight before the procedure.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
The procedure’s length will vary depending on what you are having done. With just a diagnostic cardiac catheterization, the procedure may only take an hour or so. If you are having a stent put in, then it may take longer. With radial artery access, you are able to recover much faster. If you have a femoral artery access, you will need to relax and remain still for several hours after the procedure.
If you have questions about radial artery approach for angioplasty, contact our specialists at Brookhaven Heart. Call 631.654.3278 to schedule your appointment with us today.