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Transradial (Wrist) Approach to Angiograms or Angioplasty

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Have you had an angiogram or angioplasty where the forearm/wrist was used for catheter access? Have you been talking with your physician about a radial procedure? Share your story, and learn more about transradial access.

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Current Postings on This Page (145):
• Jools and Gill in the UK - When the contrast dye that is used in angiography is injected into the coronary arteries, patients usually feel a warm, sometimes more intense, sensation. This is normal whether the access site is femoral (thigh/leg) or radial (arm). If you are still feeling discomfort or pain two or three days after the angiogram, it may just be taking a bit longer to dissipate, but you should report this to the cardiologist who did the procedure.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, July 26, 2014

• I had a wrist angiogram on Wednesday. He managed to get catheter in but could not get the wire to my heart. He injected me 4 times and each time I felt intense burning from my fingertips to elbow. I am left with pins and needles in my fingers and pain in my shoulder. Is this normal?
Jools, Grimsby, England, July 25, 2014

• Hi. I had a heart attack last Tues 24th june. They got me to the hospital in time and I had a stent fitted on Wed 25th. Why does my arm still throb and aching?
Gill, UK, June 29, 2014

• I went to the Cardiac Care Emergency Room with minor heart pain (we are fortunate to have a world class Heart Hospital) last Friday. I had felt this pain 20 years prior and have a stent in my heart. I am 50 years old and overweight. They took me in and gave me immediate blood tests and an x-ray . Negative. Because of my weight they bi-passed using a heart picture and stress test and offered radial camera look and angioplasty if necessary. After they got the camera in they found 2 80% blocked arteries and ballooned/stented them. I was released the next morning and written scripts for blood thinner/nitro. The blood thinner is expensive even with insurance - 300 a month. Wrist is bruised and a bit sore. Heart has some angina which is brought under control from the nitro. So far, while wrist still a bit weak, none of the symptoms or side effects being described by the others. I have a follow-up appointment this week and will keep the forum posted. I am a huge fan of radial angioplasty so far compared to the few procedures I had through my legs many years before.
Bryan from Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, June 29, 2014

• Two year follow-up from RAO (closed radial artery), still have pain and numbness, right hand, pinky and ring finger. Difficult to write! Ulnar artery still swollen inside of wrist. Painful when touched or contact with something (especially use of computer mouse)! Also, have pain up the back of arm from wrist to elbow. Weight limit I can carry is less than 5#. A 51 year old man read a previous post of mine and contacted me. He is in severe pain from hand to shoulder, 30 days post op! I remember those days! He's been to 3 doctors and all they do is prescribe pain medication! Even accused him of having this pain prior to procedure! Two powerful meds...hopefully he doesn't get addicted! There are posts on this Board back to January 2011 from patients with same complaints! Impossible for "any" doctor in this field not to of heard about this complication. Don't they read? All they would need to do is Google it! Would love to hear from other 1-2 year post op patients! This complication should be clearly spelled out on consent form and discussed. Patient should have a choice as to which hand will be used. I've read articles on your site, procedure is not recommended on small wrists!
Lynn, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA, June 4, 2014

• Lynn, I'm having same issue after procedure. It's been 4 weeks and still in pain.
Retlaw, Tallahassee, Florida, USA, June 2, 2014

• Had wrist cardio angiogram 3days ago and today wrist to elbow is black. Had 2 compression bands, after 1st one a bump like ping pong ball popped up and they put 2nd one on. I will see Dr. Tomorrow' any suggestions? :-)
laura, Rochester, New York, USA, March 31, 2014

• I had a cath (1 stent) done two weeks ago (2/21/14). They did a radial AND groin. I had a lot of radial pain after the procedure until the started decreasing the pressure on the device that they put to help the artery close. A few days after the pain started, got a bit worse, but seems to be getting SLIGHTLY better in the last few days. On a follow-up appointment on 3/5, the doctor said my pulse was weaker in that arm so prescribed an ultrasound for 3/10, but it seems the only thing they can do if they find an acclusion is meds? I'm already on a platelet med (Effient) and a baby aspririn, I don't want to be on yet another blood thinner, and I'm not convinced that would do anything anyway, so why even get the ultrasound? Has ANYONE had relief for their pain in the 1, 2, or more years since their procedure?? As far as the pain, it mostly doesn't bother me during the day as long as I don't do anything to exertive with that arm, but it hurts more at night when I shift from side to side - normally hurts for only several seconds then subsides, so not constant.
Davman, Northern Virginia, USA, March 8, 2014

• I had an angioplasty 7 days ago and a stent fitted this was done through my left wrist and since then I have been in considerable pain which starts when I move my arm rest it down or touch no matter how gently this is particularly bad at night my wrist is badly bruised and swollen. I have had many angiograms and angioplasties done over the years always through the groin before this and I have to say this the most painful. After reading what others have said I am consulting my GP tomorrow, as for speaking to the cardiologist I think someone is having a laugh I phoned the CCU late at night when I could not speak to anyone else 5 days after leaving hospital I was feeling under well and found my blood pressure had gone though the roof I just wanted some advice which I got second hand the doctor would not come to the phone the advice was if you are that worried go to A&E (some help).
Paul from Bristol, Bristol, UK, February 25, 2014

• Experienced restlessness and sweating after a hot lunch on 24 Jan2014. Rested for an hour and sought consultation with my Cardio in the evening. Finding changes in ECG admitted immediately in Metro Heart Hospital later same evening. Planned angiography on 25th.
Pre Angioplasty Diagnosis: Coronary artery (Double Vessel) disease. Unstable angina, Essential hypertension
Procedure: PTCA with stenting to Diagonal (by using drug eluting stent) and plain balloon angioplasty to OM with intravenous glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor blockade therapy.
Report: Diagonal: The LCA was engaged with 5F EBU 3.5 guide catheter. A 0.014" Fielder wire was used to cross the diagonal lesion. The lesion was pre-dilated by using 1.5 mm x 10 mm balloon inflated at 8 atmosphere for 10 seconds. Thereafter, 2.25 mm x 16 mm Taxus Element drug eluting stent was deployed in Diagonal at 16 atmosphere for 30 seconds.
Final check-angiography revealed no residual stenosis with brisk antegrade flow. OM: A 0.014" Fielder wire was used to cross the OM lesion. The lesion was dilated by using 1.5mm x 10 mm balloon inflated at 8 atmosphere for 10 seconds. Final check angiography revealed no residual stenosis with broken-hearted
SYN, Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, India(near Delhi), January 29, 2014

• FYI. 64 year old, UK male, otherwise very fit and healthy had a STEMI, probably due to genetic susceptibility. The dominant RCA was 100% blocked. Blockage cleared and stent inserted via right radial artery. Results very good. After 6 weeks decided to hit a few golf balls at the range. Result swelling and bruising to right forearm. I presume shock trauma to artery weakened by guide wire or catheter. All other post op exercise regime no problems. Advice for what it is worth don't hit golf balls or use sledge hammers for a bit longer. My experience has been very positive but I was in very good condition prior to this heart attack and I have followed all the follow up advice on exercise, eating and life style to the letter or beyond. My only gripe is I would like to get off the beta blockers and ACE inhibitors but am told I must wait, so I will. Sorry to hear all your problems make sure you look holistically and don't jump to diagnosis. Diagnosis is all important.
rower49, Cornwall, England, July 16, 2013

• Lynn from Florida - Hi. Yes, you have posted these issues a number of times in this Forum. We'd be curious to hear the results of the various exams you've had. Are you saying that none of these physicians could determine the cause of your problems? No question that there is the possibility of a complication from the wrist approach that can cause long-term pain. It happens. The reason we say that complications like these are rare is because they are rare. Recent studies have confirmed that radial complications are well less than half of those seen in the femoral approach. And some have shown mortality benefit as well. Especially in patients who are having a heart attack, the wrist approach is safer. Again, if you happen to be the patient who has experienced a complication, it doesn't make much difference to you what the percentages are. Finally, as for your various issues regarding bone loss, shrinking, in your knees, ankles, fingers, etc. we just never heard of these kinds of symptoms associated with a complication like a radial artery occlusion. Anyone out there have more info for Lynn?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, July 8, 2013

• Hello this is Lynn from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. I have not logged on to your site for a couple of months, therefore, please excuse my tardiness in replying to your question as to whether I have been to a Neurologist. Yes, several tests! And I've been to Rheumatologists, Hematologists, Cardiologists and every other "ologist" there is! Just had blood work "read" last week. Doctors keep ignoring the pain I am in and the continuation of bone shrinkage. I am not "nuts"! Cheek bones, jaw, elbows, knees, ankles, feet, fingers and bones in hands are shrinking everyday and very, very painful! There is no doubt in my mind, that the errors made before, during and after Cardiac Cath thru wrist caused these issues. I am dying a very painful death! God knows I'm so sorry I ever went to ER at PBG Medical Center! There was absolutely no reason to perform this procedure. My question to you and your site is why do u initially respond to "new" patients, who r clearly at the end of their rope, in sete for an answer and clearly in severe pain, that complications r rare and u don't know what could be the cause of their pain??? There's clearly one answer "closed radial artery"!
Lynn Metcalf, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA, July 7, 2013

• Hello, i had a wrist cath done 3 months ago. Everything went well until 3 weeks after the procedure i had pain and numbness in my wrist I couldn't turn my wrist or use my thumb with out pain and weakness. i contacted my cardio Dr. and he recommended wearing a arm band for 2 weeks. That didn't work. So i tried to continue on as normal no change. I went to my regular Dr. she recommended an x-ray. she stated the x-ray came back fine, she recommended a neuro Dr., he recommended physical therapy, which caused more pain. I called my cardio Dr. back and talked to the nurse and insisted on seeing him ASAP. I have an appointment today. i hope he can figure what is wrong. Its hard to live in pain and cannot hardly use my right arm at work.
Blondie, Lady Lake, Florida, USA, June 25, 2013

• I had this procedure done on 12/21/2012 and never had any of the problems you people are talking about. The only thing I have is just a little bit of numbness in my hand none of the pain and swelling. I was ready to go home the same night but since I live a couple of hours away from the Heart Hospital I had to spend the night. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs it. I guess the numbness is better then the alternative (death).
Sonny, Estherville, Iowa, USA, June 18, 2013

• My doctor said the same as you have actually, about thrombosis. Now that I know that, I realize that it wasnt actually doing my housework using my arm that caused the pain, I think it was a case of speeding the heartrate up, which then causes the pain. All quite obvious now that I know, and I now feel that I have some control over the pain and can lessen it by doing things slowly, The worrying thing is though, that last week, in desperation and not knowing what to do as I felt so alone with it all, I was actually going to go out on my bike as I thought (stupidly) that it may get the blood going faster. Thank God I didnt, but you see there could have been consequences in that the cardiologist didnt tell me what he knew to be true. That is my last rant. God Bless and thank you once more.
Maureen B., Essex, United Kingdom, June 13, 2013

• I would just like to tell you that I took your advice and saw another doctor yesterday, my GP. I cannot tell you the relief I felt and still feel because of the fact that he took me seriously. He said that there is undoubtedly damage done because of the angiogram, I hardly have a pulse in the right arm, the doctor couldnt feel it at all in the normal way, but had to use a pulse machine before he could pick up a very faint pulse. He is very concerned as I have a saggital sinus thrombosis and have been taking warfarin since 2000. As busy as he is he told me that any worries I may have I must see him, even without an appointment. I believe that I have been very unlucky, not the fault of the cardiologist although I am confused as to why he would deny that the pain was anything to do with the procedure just five days earlier. I thank you very much for your advice and want you to know that it was very much appreciated. Bless you for this very worthwhile service, especially as its voluntary, that just makes you more special.
Maureen B., Essex, United Kingdom, June 12, 2013

• So sorry to bother you yet again. I have to tell you that today I feel an improvement in the pain in my arm. Also I think the blood flow is slightly better. However, today I have noticed little dark browny colour lines under my fingernails on the same arm. Can you tell me why this might be please.
Maureen B., Essex, United Kingdom, June 10, 2013

• Its me again, I am now 2 weeks since the angiogram and I am still in agony, I have noticed a small lump next to the cut and when touched it sends terrible pains up my arm and down my hand. I have taken to wearing a support strap. I am now at my wits end and am going to consult my gp tomorrow.
polly34, United Kingdom, June 10, 2013

• Maureen B in the UK -- If the pain continues at this level, it would probably be wise to consult another doctor. Did this pain start right after the catheterization? If so, it's hard to imagine they are not related. But again, as we state in our disclaimer, "no information on this Forum should be viewed as a substitute for medical advice or as a consultation with a medical doctor."
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, June 9, 2013

• Thank you for your reply. I went back to see the cardiologist. One of the nurses did a test on each finger of both hands and clearly the blood flow in the right hand is now not the same as the left,which I believe is the cause of the pain. However the cardiologist said that it has nothing to do with having an angiogram the week before, and told me if it persists to go to my GP. I can't lift dishes, do ironing, prepare vegetables, hang out washing. Can I expect this pain to go away, it is so bad when i try do do any of the above or more that I could faint with it. My arm feels like a dead weight. Cardio doc said only go back to him if forearm is very pale and there is no pulse. Please can you advise me again?
Maureen B., Essex, United Kingdom, June 9, 2013

• Maureen B in the UK -- Did you have the angiogram via the wrist? Or higher up via the brachial artery in the crease of the arm? The brachial approach is not the same as the transradial. If it was through the wrist (transradial) your arm or wrist might be a bit sensitive after a radial catheterization, but it's not normal to be in pain. As we've written, the radial approach is performed because it results in greater patient comfort, so if that is not the case, you should discuss your issues with the cardiologist who did the procedure.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, June 8, 2013

• I had an angiogram a week ago which showed that my heart is okay. However the pain in my arm is so bad. I probably have done too much by way of household chores. I just want to know if anyone else has has the same thing. I rang the cardio dept and was told by a cardio nurse that this is normal. The hub of the pain is just above the crease of my arm and a little towards the side, but it kills my whole arm and hand. Any advice please.
Maureen B, Essex, United Kingdom, June 6, 2013

• Hitch in Canada -- This may just have been a small infection but (and this applies to ALL patients reading this) if you have ANY post-procedure questions, you should contact the cardiologist who did the procedure -- for two reasons: (1) to find out if whatever your concern is is "normal" and if there's any treatment needed, and (2) to let the cardiologist know about this, perhaps prompting his practice to better inform patients about possible issues after discharge. Believe it or not, when a patient walks out the door, the cardiologist seldom hears about anything that happens afterward -- so think of these calls as a kind of CME (Continuing Medical Education) for the doctor. And Polly34 in UK -- very sorry to hear of your experience. As we've written, this is NOT typical. In fact, the wrist approach has gained acceptance around the world mainly because it is more comfortable for the patient. Every talk we've attended on the transradial approach stresses that if there is significant pain involved, then something else needs to be done, either a smaller or different type of catheter, a different pharmalogical "cocktail" to reduce arterial spasm, or a change to the femoral approach. We hope you have communicated your experience to the cardiologist.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, June 5, 2013

• I had an angiogram through the wrist last week. OMG... The pain was horrendous. I have been left very badly bruised and can't even use a knife at meal times. I was fortunate enough to be told my arteries are clear which is just as well as I don't think I could bear the thought of going back to the hospital.
Polly34, Preston, United Kingdom, June 3, 2013

• Like JR, I had an angiogram about 8 weeks ago, accessed through my arm. dye only, as no blockages were found (but LQTS was, just for variety, by a later test and different incision in groin). the site of the wrist incision turned red about 3 days ago, and it swelled slowly over the next days. today, it burst with some clear-ish fluid, like a "light" puss. not clear. I too am curious if I should be taking measures to fix things, or if this type of issue usually resolves. there is no related pain or issues with the rest of my arm. thanks in advance for feedback.
Hitch, patient, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 1, 2013

• If you are concerned about the radial approach being safe, check out this article about the oldest patient ever successfully treated with a stent...and it was done via the wrist approach! Did I say "104 years-old?"
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 25, 2013

• Just an FYI: Allen's test assesses patency of the radial artery which is occluded by the hemostasis device. We use the Barbeau's test along with oxi-plethysmography which assesses the patency and circulation of the Ulnar artery. RAO can be a severe complication with loss of limb.
dfurm, South Carolina, USA, May 6, 2013

• Dave in Scotland - The fact that you experienced a lot of pain is a signal that your radial artery was probably in spasm. There are drugs to reduce that, but if the pain and spasm impedes the procedure, cross-over to the femoral approach is sometimes done. We can't say what the source of your pain is but, if you haven't already, you definitely should contact the interventional cardiologist who did the procedure and let him/her know about this.

And Lynn in Florida, you're correct that Dave's pain may be from a radial artery occlusion, although most of the time this complication is benign and the patient feels nothing. That's because the ulnar artery takes over the circulation. It's also why an Allen test is often done: to ensure that, should the radial artery become occluded, the ulnar is patent and will take over. There are other ways that cardiologists can make this assessment as well. As for your other complications, which you've written about previously (bone loss in other parts of your body, problems in your legs, ankles, etc.) there's no data suggesting that these are in any way connected to your radial artery procedure. Wondering if you've ever gotten to see a neurologist?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 4, 2013

• Dear Dave in Edinburgh, Scotland, I hear you have a lovely country! I'm from Florida and a friend went to Scotland to teach Algebra! I'm pretty sure she was in Edinburgh! I remember her saying the classroom had several age groups! Anyway, your hand and arm pain is more than likely caused from occluded radial artery in your wrist. This occurs when the catheter is inserted into the wrist. Mine wasn't diagnosed until 6 weeks later by another doctor thru an Ultra Sound. The ulnar artery takes over, but "we" suffer for months and months! Experts suggest an Allen Test be performed prior to procedure and a 24 hr follow up which I didn't get, did you? PC prescribed antibiotic to me for possible infection in forearm, bruising and tiny bumps. Two mos later Cardiologist gave me Prednizone. Veins on back of ankle and tops of feet busted out due to meds! Ankles and bottom of feet still hurt alot! Feet width and depth are quickly shrinking along with other bones including jaw! Severe pain from wrist to shoulders! Painful lumps in upper arms! My pinky and ring finger still have pain and numbness, base of hand and thumb hurts when I use it! Sooo hard to carry groceries up stairs, having to move!
Lynn, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA, May 4, 2013

• I had a radial angiogram performed a week ago today. The local anesthetic did not work properly and I had severe pain. They stopped half way through realising how much pain I was in. I was given morphine twice given a few minutes then they started again. Still painful but not as bad. They put in one stent and i was allowed home that evening - since the procedure I have been getting severe pain and discomfort in the same arm - mainly the forearm - the pain seems to be spreading and has now gone down to my palm and fingers and upwards towards my shoulder - there seems to be a small amount of swelling on the forearm but nothing to speak of around the point of entry. The pain is getting worse by the day and anti inflammatories seem to have little or no effect - HELP!
Big Dave, Edinburgh, Scotland, April 29, 2013

• Dissy -- A hematoma (collection of blood under the skin) is a relatively rare complication in the radial (wrist) approach; it is more commonly seen in the femoral (leg) approach. Above (proximal to) the elbow is even rarer and considered a Grade IV hematoma. This type of hematoma is not directly related to the puncture site in the wrist but usually results from a small perforation by the guide wire when it was advanced up the artery. If the hematoma is small and not growing in size, it will probably resolve with no adverse effects, but you should contact your doctor anyway, preferably the cardiologist who did the procedure, to let him/her know. If it's large or growing, it needs immediate medical attention. Measure its size so you have that information when you call.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 7, 2013

• Had a cath thru the wrist and the next day I have a large hematoma above the elbow, with swelling...is this normal?
Dissy, Pennsylvania, UA, April 7, 2013

• Hi Mick, very interesting! Granuloma,that may have been what I had from my wrist to my elbow. Did you have tiny little painful bumps under the skin? I scheduled appt. to have Cardiologist examine, but Bookkeeper called to advise I would need to pay at least $200 at time of visit, otherwise, cancel appt.,I cancelled appt. Went to see Primary Care who prescribed anti-biotic, but bumps didn't go away. Very painful for months to come; 11 mos post op, major pain in both arms as I'm typing! I showed up at his office today, to let him know I've done my research and now know what should have been done; Allen's Test, 24 hr follow-up, and my symptoms when entering the ER didn't justify admission or anything extreme as a "Cardiac Cath"! Life, as I knew it, is over! Damage to radial artery during insertion of catheter, size, method, I don't know! But, I do know Cath Lab techs did a number on tops of both arms when trying to insert IV's, nurse in recovery should have notified doctor when she released wrist band to quickly and blood squirted out up to my elbows, covered sheets and blanket! I was taken back upstairs, three nurses observed swelling of Ulnar Artery, should have called doctor!
Lynn, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA, April 2, 2013

• Ok. Further to my earlier post regarding pain couple weeks after radial angioplasty. After 24hrs I did call the hospital again. They told me to come down where they admitted me to a ward. I was given intravenous antibiotic Saturday Sunday, Monday. On the Sunday the swelling on the wrist burst [thankfully i'd been given painkillers to ease the pain]. A swab was taken sent to the lab were no infection was found. Remember this pain had started 2 to 3 weeks after my stent procedure. Now this is the crucial part.[an infection starts 2 to3 days after a procedure] but the pain and swelling which starts 2 to 3 weeks after a procedure is called a granuloma. Yes a granuloma. Why was this not spotted right away as my problem came 2 to3 weeks after? A granuloma is treated with steroids. I am now 2 days into steroid treatment at home and so far it's dramatic. I have had an immediate response and no pain. I'm back home but this could have so easily have been sorted when I first complained of pain. Instead I spent three days in hospital on two types of antibiotic and suffered pain needlessly. A granuloma is a approx a 3 in 100 allergic reaction to the coating on the sheath which they put in your wrist to guide stent wires.
Mick, Liverpool, United Kingdom, March 26, 2013

• To Mick and Shell,I feel your pain! I had wrist cardiac cath 10 months ago and still experiencing complications. Severe pain in my hand/arm for weeks/months after. I was given an antibiotic by Primary Care and antiinflammatory by Cardiologist who performed the procedure. The Cardiologist knew "or should have known" that the problem was the "closed radial artery", AI's may have caused popped veins in ankle & feet. Wonder if small wrists and arteries are a common factor amongst injured? I believe problem is much more wide spread than being reported. I know mine wasn't reported, was your's? I'm reaching out to future patients, ask about Allen's test, follow-up in 24 hrs, research exp. of doctor, hospital on approved list, Lab Techs & Nurses. I believe I have what's called collapsed veins from the excessive puncturing done to "both" arms for IV's on top of both arms. I can still hear the one tech asking the other to help fine the vein! I asked why my "right" arm and told that's the side of the table the doctor likes to work from! OMG why I didn't jump from the table and run is beyond me! Wrist band pressure removed to quickly and blood squirted out up to my elbow, sheets and blankets!
Lynn, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA, March 26, 2013

• Just to comment on the last 3 posts, wide divergence of experience: 1 post sings praises of the radial approach, the other 2 had a negative experience. So it's important to look at big data from clinical studies and trials of large numbers of people -- and, if you do, the outcomes show significantly increased patient comfort with the radial approach. In fact, it's been one of the main reasons that cardiologists have adopted it. More recently studies have also shown an outcome benefit, especially in heart attack scenarios -- less bleeding, much less complications, lower mortality, and lower costs to the healthcare system.

That being said, if you happen to be one of the complications, none of these benefits mean anything. One rule that is taught in all radial training sessions is that, if the patient is experiencing a lot of pain, you should consider going femoral (leg/groin artery) because it's a signal that the radial artery might be going into spasm, etc. There are drug cocktails and other techniques that can help prevent this. There is also the complication of radial artery occlusion, which we have discussed in many comments previously. Usually it's benign and often resolves on its own. Occasionally, however, it may cause some of the symptoms reported by patients in this Forum.

Here's what is important for all patients who look at this or any other topic on these Forums: remember that you are reading a subset of people's experience. Patients who have had a complication or problem are looking for answers; they go to the internet; they find this Forum and post their story. Patients who have had no problems most likely do not post here...so you are reading a distilled sampling, mostly of complications or negative experiences. Taken in total, from a number of studies, the radial (wrist) approach to catheter-based procedures results in lower complications and higher patient comfort than the femoral.

To reply specifically to Mick and Shell -- Get in touch with the interventional cardiologist who did the angiogram or angioplasty and let him/her know about your complication. They need to know about this and they may be able to help. Many times a general practitioner, or emergency dept, is not as familiar with the potential cause of these problems.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 23, 2013

• I had angiogram/plasty 6th march 2013 a fair bit of discomfort during procedure but came through ok about one hour 30min approx [they said it was a bit tricky] bleeding stopped ok and allowed home a couple hours later [a bit tender in chest but ok]. Two weeks later swelling and pain at puncture site and ache up arm, gradually worsening, called day ward who advised me to come back in, spoke to doctor i had not met before who prescribed antibiotic am now day 3 on antibiotic and pain getting worse am taking 2 paracaetomol every 4 hours, i do not think this is infection esp after viewing this page, if no improvement in next 24hrs am calling day ward again! has anybody experienced this? i had a femoral entry stent 13yrs ago after a heart attack stayed overnight but absolutely no pain no complication.
Mick, Liverpool, United Kingdom, March 22, 2013

• I had an angiogram 4 days ago. It was the most horrific pain I have ever had. They decided to do it via my wrist. I was given 2 sedatives and was still very painful. Apparently the artery in my arm went into spasm. They tried to relax it. I still can't describe the pain. Whilst it was being done I could feel my thumb flicking from left to right!! Eventually they then went through the groin and it was such a relief! 4 days later I still have pain in my hand and arm.. Also swelling.. I feel nausea and dizziness with the pain. My hand also feels cold to touch. Will this ever get better??? :(
Shell, London, United Kingdom, March 21, 2013

• I had a radial angiogram in Jan 2013 during a heart attack. I had never heard of the 'wrist' approach. It was great. I had no pain at the site until I decided to lift a 50# of dog bag, then the site "popped' and I bled for a little. It is now (March) and I have a very small scar, but that's all. I have to go under the procedure again and I will choose the radial over the femoral any day! I had a stroke after the last procedure and I need three more stents.
Marymoose, San Diego, California, USA, March 20, 2013

• Lynn in Florida -- What we do know about radial artery occlusion (RAO) is that it usually is benign, without symptoms. It is possible that the problems you are having are due to some additional complications, but this is very hard to diagnose long-distance. The increasing loss of strength, pain, etc. is certainly concerning, but it is hard to say this is related to the RAO. Did your vascular surgeon have any treatment options for you? And have you seen a neurologist? We have not heard anything about amputation being an option here. Also, have you discussed your situation with the cardiologist who did the radial procedure. He certainly should be made aware of your complication. The excessive bleeding in the recovery room that you mention in your February 27 post certainly is not normal -- one of the major benefits of the radial approach is extremely low bleeding complications.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 6, 2013

• Do you have data on any patients more than 12 months post-op who suffered a closed radial artery from a wrist cardiac catheterization? I am so anxious to know if there is any hope of healing! I am 10 months post-op still have numbness/pain to ring and little finger, outside of right hand and bottom of thumb. Extreme pain, comes and goes, from wrist up back side of arm up to elbow. Is this the Ulnar Nerve/Artery? I was told my Radial Artery was closed and the Ulnar Artery has taken over?? I have a large lump on the inside of the wrist, painful to touch and hurts when I eat, brush teeth,"try" to blow dry hair, cook,clean, etc., As I type...very irritated! As the months went on I began having pain in legs,top of arms, major loss of strength (arms/wrists/legs/ankles) shrinking each day...(tissue??? muscle??? bone loss???) I'm 57 and my skin has aged 20 years in the past 10 months! I can only assume this has something to do with bad blood circulation and not enough oxygen getting to tissues relating to closed artery? Any suggestions? Answers? I read somewhere about only solution is amputation? Is this true? If not, any procedure to reverse complications? DESPERATE IN FLORIDA!
Lynn, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA, March 4, 2013

• Des in England -- Sounds like the TR Band was used correctly, although not sure why stitches were used as well. Hard to say what the cause might be, whether it's trauma from the procedure or a possible minor infection. But we'd recommend contacting the cardiologist who did the procedure.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 2, 2013

• I had a second RRA angiogram 6 days ago. Some restrictions were found in my coronary arteries, but will be treated with medication. However I have been experiencing pain/tenderness about two inches above the catheter entry point, occasional slight numbness to my thumb, pain in my outer upper right arm, plus the skin on my right forearm appears "rough". Reading through some of these postings, is this due to the procedure? The wound was closed with stitches, which came out after 4 days and a TR band which was fully removed after approximately an hour and a half, but pressure was relieved after the first twenty minutes and then reduced every twenty minutes until removed.
Des, Kent, England, March 1, 2013

• Female, 56,130#, - Cardiac Cath right wrist May 2012 - never advised of possible complications I now read about in these posts! PA made it sound so simple...met doctor first time in recovery room. His only words were "arteries are 100% clear-don't lift anything heavier than a bottle of water". I only wish I could now carry a bottle of water without difficulty, a plate of food! Extreme weakness in arms, hands, legs, pain in all areas has made any household chore difficult! While in recovery, blood gushed out all the way up my arm, blanket and sheets...very scary! Within a few days bruising from wrist to elbow, and many, many tiny painful bumps under the skin. Primary Care prescribed antibiotic. Six weeks later I was referred to a Vascular Surgeon for an Ultra Sound who advised me that when the Catheter was inserted it closed my Radial Artery! I was in total shock! On a Saturday, 2 mos later, went to Urgent Care - Doctor explained that the Ulnar Artery had taken over and reasons for pain in arm, wrist, hand, numbness, etc. I read in a post about protruding of veins on top of arms, I have that too... very painful! I'm very scared as my body continues to weaken! So much more to tell!
Lynn, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA, February 27, 2013

• Veronica in Australia -- We are most sorry for your complications and can say that your experience is not the norm. Complications are low for the radial approach (see our post from November 4, 2012 explaining this) but, of course, that statistic means nothing if you are the patient with the complication. We certainly recommend to any patient experiencing a complication such as yours to immediately contact the interventional cardiologist who did the procedure, because he/she will know better than anyone a possible way to treat it. The pain may be caused by the artery having been occluded. This resolves itself 50% of the time; sometimes blood thinners can help. On another point, we don't understand your writing that the last post in this topic was from 2011. There are over 170 posts going back to 2008, the most recent before yours being February 18 of this year. In any case, we hope the pain subsides. And write back to let other Forum readers know how you fare.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 27, 2013

• I had a right wrist angiogram 4 days ago ....on the 2nd day I started feeling this pain in my forearm ... the next day in my shoulder and today in my thumb and hand. i went to the GP and she said, she does not see any swelling so she has ruled out infection .... she called my cardiologist and told him this but she still prescribed me an antibiotic. I rushed home and called my cardiologist .... an hour later he called back and I explained everything to him .... he said take the antibiotic and see how you feel in a couple of days .... now I'm a wreck because I decided that this is just not normal as they never told me that this is what I would feel after the angiogram ..... decided to scroll the net to find answers and this is the site I hit first .... to read all these complications with the exact same symptoms I have has got me all worked up .... reading that this pain will never go AWAY!!!! DOES THIS MEAN MY LIFE IS RUINED?? that I will never be able to do this with my hand????? I see the last post here was 2011 .... is there anyone out there that did a post here .... do you still have this pain? Is it gone? and if so ... what was done? PLEASE!!!
Veronica W, Perth, Australia, February 26, 2013

• Cat in Georgia -- We'd suggest calling the cardiologist who did the angiogram ASAP. The fact that the pain didn't start until well after the cath is curious. Did you start taking any new medications as of the angiogram? If you are having pains in both arms and other symptoms, it may not be related to the cath. But it may, so definitely let the cardio know and let this Forum know what you find out.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 18, 2013

• I had a wrist cath done. Left the hospital feeling no pain. Now 3 days later and still going to 7, there is pain in whole arm. Since last night I have had a lot of very fast heart beats that has kept me up. I am very tired and dizzy & short of breath even at rest & when I get up or move it gets worse. I have also the shocking in both hands and my fingers get numb for 10 minutes. I have lost my appetite, feel nausea. Feel like dookie, what is your advice or opinion?
Cat Owens, Thomasville, Georgia, USA, February 18, 2013

• Still from Georgia -- Your experience sounds terrible and is definitely NOT typical. It is extremely important, for the success of the procedure, that the patient not be in pain. If the patient IS in pain, then something is wrong and perhaps the radial (wrist) approach is not suitable. Certainly, you should have been part of a conversation as to how your procedure was going to be done. That is what the current guidelines require.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 10, 2013

• I was told on the operation table that my cardiologist was going thru my wrist for blockages and valves. My screams is when I realized that this was going to be with out pain med. One thought the other gave it and no one gave it. I'm still crying. I'm black and blue and he lied about getting to the heart. I was waiting so the pain would stop. Now I have red streaks, clots and no pain med. this was 01/02/2013 in Macon, Ga. I will never trust my cardiologist again, ever.
still have to pay the bill., Griffin, Georgia, USA, January 8, 2013

• Stergio -- Thanks for your comment. We'd like to point out again that these Forum Discussion boards tend to be the "Complaint Department" for complications from procedures. This is in no way to minimize the pain and suffering caused to these individuals, but it is very important to get perspective on complications, and also to look at the data amassed in multiple studies of these procedures. The wrist, or transradial approach, is associated with far fewer bleeding complications than the femoral approach. And several studies have even shown a mortality benefit for the radial approach in STEMI (heart attacks). Radial artery occlusion is the most common complication for radial, and data shows that most of the time, the occlusion resolves itself and/or the patient has no symptoms from the occlusion. Obviously, from some of the posts here, that is not always the case.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 4, 2012

• I have had a radial angioplasty and stent on Thursday 25th October 2012 at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, UK. Prior to that I had a femoral angiogram (with collagen plug) at my local hospital which confirmed the right coronary artery blockage. I am delighted to have found this site and find the forum fascinating, informative and reassuring reading. I wish someone had directed me to this site as part of the investigation/diagnostic period. After reading the complications most contributors on this discussion have had with the radial procedure I just want to put forward my experience of no pain or discomfort during or following the radial approach. If I compared my femoral angiogram to the radial angioplasty and stent procedure I found more discomfort and irritation from the femoral site. I hope this is useful.
Stergio, Cheshire, United Kingdom, October 30, 2012

• Hi I had a heart attack lst November had 3 stents put in through my right wrist. All was fine until a week ago started feeling poorly again went to A&E and was admitted to hospital where one of my stents had collapsed and had to be replaced, had the angiogram through my right wrist again this time OMG got the pressure bracelet on my arm swelled 3 times its size and turned black. The nurses took while to get it sorted. My arm is still really badly bruised and so painful haven't got full use of my arm back and not all the feeling in my fingers have returned can't return to work as can't drive or anything as I am right handed .I am 47 years old any ideas would be helpful as can't sleep and in constant pain. Thanks
Suemac, Leeds, United Kingdom, October 30, 2012

• Had diagnostic radial angiogram yesterday to try to find cause of recently diagnosed dilated cardiomyopathy. No problems but it was definitely uncomfortable during the procedure, especially when dye injected (burning sensation). Very quick recovery although TR band had to be reduced due to skin 'mottling'. I had a bit of post-op pain along inner arm yesterday but that has now gone. Some slight bruising on inner wrist today but worst bruising is back of hand from failed cannula attempt by nurse. Procedure not as bad as I anticipated, and very quick (25 mins). Like all surgical interventions there are risks but I'd say on balance, go for it. P.S. happily all my coronary arteries are smooth & normal.
MJ, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, July 17, 2012

• NOVA Lady in Virginia -- Hopefully the pain will subside. Radial artery occlusion (RAO), which it seems you had, resolves itself 50% of the time. And, if not, it seldom results in symptoms. Obviously, this is not the situation in your case. Another oddity is that one of the more common causes of RAO is keeping the pressure band or other device on at too high a pressure and/or for too long. Blood thinners, such as heparin, are recommended to be used during the procedure in order to lower the risk of RAO as well. We are sorry to hear your story. The number of these types of complications are low (certainly lower than those with the femoral approach) but no complication is low if you are the patient who experiences one. We hope your pain dissipates soon.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, July 17, 2012

• I am so glad to read these posts so I know I'm not going crazy. I had radial catheterization at a hospital in Washington DC on 25 June. Two days after the procedure, while I was still an inpatient in the hospital, my right arm became very painful with numbness from my thumb to wrist. I was given pain killers to help with the pain, but it took the medical staff a week to finally order an ultrasound where it was found that the artery was occluded in addition to a hematoma. They put me on Lovenox, a blood thinner, for a week to see if the occlusion would resolve. It didn't so I asked to be taken on the blood thinner. Looking back on what may have went wrong, they discovered that there may have been an issue with the TR band being removed too soon. When the persisted into almost 2 weeks, a vascular resident came to see me and swore that the pain I was having was not from the occluded artery or the procedure. The nurses called the cath lab for help and were told that the vascular resident was dead wrong, that the pain i was having was from the occlusion. I was put on NSAIDS and warm compress but am still having pain when I use my arm. Does this pain eventually go away?
NOVA Lady, Virginia, USA, July 16, 2012

• I had a Cath done through the wrist about 5 weeks ago. Thank God, no problems were found and I've had none like the [below] posters note. However, after 5 weeks in which the insertion point appeared to heal up, a small red splotch developed at the insertion point. A day later, it had developed what appeared to be a blood blister. It was hard to the touch and "tender" but not painful. The next morning, I woke to find it burst open and blood, no pus or anything else, just blood, oozing out of it. We treated it with Neosporin and a band-aid and went on. Over the next day and 1/2 it appeared to be healing up. However, that evening, it started to "pooch out" again like a pimple and then developed again into a blood blister which burst this morning when I was in the shower. Again, a band-aid went on and this time we went to my family doctor who said it was not healing from the inside and put a "sterile strip over it" and pushed it together to allow it to heal. However, the strip appears now to be coming off (the doc said keep it on till it comes off by itself.) The doc said it was not an infection or infected hair. Has anyone else had this problem and if so what did you do to resolve it?
JR, Huntington, West Virginia, USA, July 2, 2012

• i had felt pain in my chest at midnight of 27th April 2012 and quickly went to a nearby hospital, to be identified as angina pain. Was done PTCA next day, via the right wrist. My pain was relieved the moment PTCA was done. The hand recovered / healed pretty quickly. Had an incident free hospital stay. Went home and recovered fast. Lost about 10 - 11 kgs of weight by constant walking. Three clear focus - right medicine, right food and right amount of walk. I got to reduce another 8 kgs to reach 'right' weight.
Anubhav, New Delhi, India, June 27, 2012

• AS in New York -- sorry we couldn't respond instantly to your question -- so we hope everything went OK. NY Columbia Presbyterian is a top hospital and the interventional cardiologists there are among the best in the world. Curious as to why they already knew they'd ne doing both the left and right access -- maybe they meant an angiogram of the left and right coronary artery (which would only require one femoral or radial access). Let us know how it went -- and which approach they used (femoral or radial).
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, June 27, 2012

• I have an essential tremor and will undergo my first cath tomorrow at NY Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. After reading these remarks I am terrified of both procedures. I was told that i need both left and right procedure....I am not able to keep my head from shaking vigorously when I lay down, am wondering if this will cause me a major problem I can not lay down for any extended periods of time due to relux and a bad neck and back...I am tempted to run away and not have anything done....scared of both methods radial and femoral reading all the comments of the aftermath....Can you help me???? I am worried about the tremor interfering with either method of cath....especially since they're are going to do both the left and right side at the same time....please help me ASAP....thank
AS, New York, USA, June 25, 2012

• I had a radial angiogram yesterday and suffered no ill effects. Very little bruising and not as much discomfort during the procedure as I had expected. Thank you Dr Ian Hall, northern General, Sheffield.
Angela, Patient, Sheffield, UK, June 19, 2012

• I had the radial procedure done five days ago. At first I had no pain, but two days later the pain kicked in. Each day it has gotten worse. From my wrist to the crease of my elbow. It feels like someone is crushing my arm. Weird thing is, it does not hurt to touch. Only when I move it
Michelle, Missouri, USA, June 12, 2012

• My husband had a catheterization through his wrist for angioplasty Dec. 2011. However, they found that he needed a bypass which was performed in Jan. 2012. He's doing fine except for having pain in the arm where they did the cath. It doesn't bother him during the day when he's active but, as soon as he sits down to relax or go to bed his arm aches from his wrist to his shoulder. Is this pain caused by the angioplasty procedure and does it go away?
Dana, Grottoes, Virginia, USA, May 20, 2012

• Madmidwife in Manchester -- As we coined the phrase, during our interview with Dr. Samir Pancholy about radial artery occlusion, "Long and strong in the radial is wrong." It is possible that this has occurred and may be causing the pain. We would suggest visiting the cardiolgist who did the procedure -- and definitely letting him/her know about the issue with the TR Band. In fact, one of the advantages of the TR Band is that, when used correctly, it "leaks" air over time, which works well in terms of reducing the tightness.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 15, 2012

• Hi, I had a radial angiogram 17 days ago. After the op the TR band was applied too tight and caused my hand to swell and turn blue for approx half an hour. The band had to be removed which caused bleeding and it was replaced after. When it was removed I was found to have a haematoma. I ended up with severe bruising which I expected. Today, I appear to have cellulitis - redness, harness, swelling and pain. Is this normal and should I return to the cardiologist or visit my GP
Madmidwife, Manchester, United Kingdom, May 15, 2012

• My husband had a stent inserted on April 2nd through his wrist, his arm and hand is terribly swollen, X-rays have shown no problem but this is reducing his ability to get back to exercise, any thoughts please.
Patricia in Cyprus, Cyprus, May 5, 2012

• To all posters who are experiencing problems such as the ones below after a radial access procedure -- definitely contact the cardiologist who did the procedure ASAP. He/she may be able to help alleviate the problem, if it is dealt with early on. It is also important to let the operator know of any complication. As we have written, the access site complication rate for the radial/wrist approach is lower than that for the femoral/groin approach, especially for serious complications such as bleeding. But the types of issues discussed by posters in this topic are very important to note, especially for cardiologists practicing the radial approach. Again, not common, but it exists. Any comments from physicians reading these Forums would be most appreciated.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 29, 2012

• I had the wrist catheterization on 4/16/12. Since then I can barely move my left wrist it was infected with a 6" blockage and put on antibiotics but the pain is so severe that I can't sleep at night. I was told there is really nothing they can do for the blockage or pain has anyone else run into this problem?
John U, Pennsylvania, USA, April 29, 2012

• I had an angiogram done 5 weeks ago via my wrist. The veins in my hands are now swollen and protruding, is this likely to go and is it serious?
Chrissy, England, April 23, 2012

• It is now a week and two days since my procedure and my hand and arm are still causing me pain. The base of my thumb and the bottom of my palm are numb and my arm is very tender a few inches up my arm from the insertion site. Is it likely that I have impaired circulation (my wrist is far too tender to feel for a pulse) and/or nerve damage?
Alice, Queensland, Australia, April 22, 2012

• hi i had a heart attack 3 years ago,age 41. i had an angiogram in my right wrist. 3 days after i had the anigogram i had the most horrific pain in my wrist. the hospial said it was from the bleeding and that it will go, and it did, but every now and then i get the same pain in my wrist what can it be?
Cheryl, Newport Gwent, South Wales, UK, April 18, 2012

• I had a right radial angiogram four days ago. Fortunately no signs of coronary disease were found. Since the procedure I have experienced pain at the insertion site and also a tight, numb feeling in the base of my thumb. When I walk and my hand is hanging at my site the pain in my wrist becomes worse. Also there have been times when in have moved my thumb and felt a stabbing feeling in the muscle in the base,, almost like a feeling of release or a little electric shock. Hard to describe exactly. Are all of the symptoms normal? The wound seems to have healed well and there is a little bit of yellow brushing around it.
Alice, Queensland, Australia, April 16, 2012

• Jo in Canada -- Read through other posts on this Forum Topic and you will find others with similar problems. Our suggestions is to definitely contact the cardiologist who did the radial procedure (were both the first and second procedures done via the right wrist?) and let him/her know about this complication. Pain usually resolves within a month but, if not, the cardiologist may be able to help.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 13, 2012

• Hi. My boyfriend had stent put in a month ago by the right wrist. He is now experiencing pain in his right arm from wrist to shoulder. Can you tell me what can be done to alleviate the pain and how long this will last? He had a heart attack. Had 100% blockage of 1 artery on the right side of his heart and 2 - at 70% on the left side. They put the first stent in the night of the heart attack and then 2 stents 3 days later. It has been 4 weeks since this has happened. He has got lumps around the point of entry. Just extreme pain up his arm in which he can not use it.
Jo, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, April 13, 2012

• I did have dye via both armpits and have had the pain/skin-cracking and swelling ever since 2004. It was almost immediately after it was done. I have seen specialists, nerve specialist and everything has been tried to no avail. Also, have had dye put in left elbow bend to check my heart and artery collapsed and had to have surgery to open it. In 1991, had vascular surgery and main artery was replaced with whatever is used today. It was a several hours surgery and was on a heart and lung machine. I have had several sessions with dye and never had the armpit one but once and have had problems mentioned since. Any help will be appreciated. It was mentioned that 8 years is too long for this to go on. It has been since 2004.
CJ MISSOURI, Retired Office Worker/Seamstress, Missouri, USA, April 7, 2012

• CJ from Missouri -- Back in August, you posted about your situation and we recommended that you consult either a neurologist or vascular surgeon, since you may have had a complication relating to a nerve. Wondering if you have done that? Also, as we wrote, you are posting to a topic on "radial access", but your procedure was not done via the radial artery (which is in the wrist) but was done through the armpit, or axillary approach -- which is not common. The lack of healing may have to do with a circulatory problem; it's really not possible to say without a thorough examination. The skin problems might have been a reaction to the contrast dye use in the arteriogram, but that isn't something that would last for 8 years.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 7, 2012

• Since 2004, when I had an arteriogram via both armpits, have severe pain both arms and skin cracking, swelling on right hand. Stiff forefinger and thumb, severe crack in palm. Won't heal with anything. These reactions began day after test and have continued. Where do I go from here? No doctor has been able to help? Never had any skin problems before this.
CJ, Retired Office Worker/Seamstress, Missouri, USA, April 6, 2012

• For Faith, Massachusetts - Go to your physiotherapist. I had a stent inserted through my wrist and experienced excruciating pain afterwards, mostly when trying to sleep, with my forearm being purple for weeks. My cardiologist just said 'it will pass' and told me to take stronger pain killers! I bet if he'd been in the pain I was in he would've resented those condescending, dismissive comments as much as I did. Luckily I thought to go to my wonderful physio who treated me for several days by putting my arm in a gentle pump-sleeve and used ultrasound which alleviated the fluid build up. I hope this helps and I do empathise with what you've been through.
Di from Sydney, Australia, April 4, 2012

• Faith in Massachusetts -- You might want to contact the interventional cardiologist who did the radial procedure: he/she should know about your complication and also may have some recommendations. Complications from the radial procedure are not common, but they do occur. One is a "radial artery occlusion" which usually has no symptoms, but some patients experience pain from this. Dr. Samir Pancholy discusses radial artery occlusion in his interview with Angioplasty.Org
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 3, 2012

• I had radial angioplasty on 2/8/2012. 3 days later I laid down for a nap & when I awoke I had extreme pain from my elbow to shoulder. I went to my referring Cardiologist who thinks maybe they hyperextended my arm. My primary sent me to PT. It is now 9 weeks later &I am stull in pain. Is this common?
Faith, Massachusetts, April 2, 2012

• Canhero -- We see you have also posted to our Forum Topic on "Not Feeling Well After Stenting" where you might find similar stories. As for the radial (wrist) approach, we're glad that you've had no access site complications from having it done that way -- especially since your procedure took four hours!
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 29, 2012

• Just had the procedure done 2 weeks ago via the radial approach here in Çosta Rica. 3 stents put in during a 4 hour procedure for 2 100% blocked arteries and 1 at 30% blocked. The last 45 minutes of the procedure was very difficult for them and for me (something about calcium making it difficult to work on me). I became very cold, numb and had tunnel vision. Then spent several days in intensive care with no bad episodes and then went home. Good news is the wrist and arm, other than some initial bruising and soreness, are pretty much fine. Bad news is, and I gather this is quite common, I don't notice any marked improvement in my condition post procedure. Still extremely tired, substantial pain if I do ANY type of exercise, and the 2 hour drive to my office is a nightmare. As long as I don't do ANYTHING, I am OK. Tough to manage though, with a family which a includes a 2 and half year old. Any suggestions, and can I expect my quality of life to improve or not?
Canhero Costa Rica, Heredia, Costa Rica, March 16, 2012

• This is Lenore again - I wrote in October after my radial catheterization. I went to see Dr. Pancholy after being referred from this site. He was a great guy and confirmed the 4" occlusion in my right wrist/forearm.... unfortunately he explained it was solidified and I would have to live this way. I experience pain and numbness daily and find my thumb/palm area turns dark blue and throbs throughout the day.... I'm 40 years old and am finding that the everyday things hurt, folding wash, typing, flipping food with tongs etc only causes more pain. Some days are better then others - Not sure where to turn and wasn't sure if anyone has any other options. Seems like the doctors all cover for each other at this point.
Lenore, Pennsylvania, USA, March 3, 2012

• Exfellwanderer -- definitely make sure the cardiologist is told about your issues. It's possible that you experienced a radial artery occlusion which a current study from Leipzig, Germany showed occurs more frequently than reported. It resolves in about half the patients with antithrombotic treatment.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 19, 2012

• I had an angioplasty done via the wrist two weeks ago and had seven stents fitted in three arteries. I am 77 years of age. Although badly bruised on leaving hospital I was feeling quite good, but after a few days pain in my lower arm appeared and gradually got worse, causing me an acute lack of sleep. I mentioned it when visited by a cardiac rehabilitation nurse who advised me to take painkillers. This approach has not worked. I am glad that I found this website as I realise that this problem is not unique to me and take some solace from this. I will be seeing the nurse again on Tuesday and will be a bit more assertive in enquiring what can be done about it. At the very least I am now thinking that I should see my GP and perhaps I should ask him to inform the cardiologist.
Exfellwanderer, West Yorkshire, UK, February 17, 2012

• i had a radial angio 2 weeks ago. Once the local anesthetic wore off i had pins and needles and cold sensation in my right arm. i called cardio unit who took a look at the wound to be told nothing wrong. 5 days later end up in a&e as arm swollen and wound looking very infected. Infection wound now tracing up my arm pins and needles still there and was told it is sitting on a nerve that's why the pain goes up my arm and into my shoulder and across into my chest. Prescribed strong antibiotics but no explanation as to why this has happened. Feel utterly let down by hospital. The wound has now burst the pain has still not subsided can this be the start of a long recovery process. I wish that when u go for this procedure that the doctors tell you of the possible side effects that could happen. the after care of most people seem to be the same u have to get on with it.
Jan, Northamptonshire, UK, February 16, 2012

• Jan L. in Iowa -- Sorry to hear of arm pain following your radial procedure. Why you are having pain post-procedure is not clear. Have you discussed this issue with the interventional cardiologist who did the procedure?? It would be important to do so, not just for being able to get help, but also to let him/her know about this complication for future patient care.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 23, 2012

• I have been having terrible pain in my hand, thumb and fingers, and wrist after having a radial cardiac catheterization. I did have problems post procedure with bleeding. I've had an arterial ultrasound, which was normal. Even if I life something that is very light, it is painful. What can I do to treat this? And what is probably the cause?
Jan L., Coralville, Iowa, USA, January 23, 2012

• Hi Lynn from Mississippi -- The radial approach isn't really done for angioplasty in the leg, since the femoral artery is the main conduit to the leg (makes no sense to thread a catheter in the wrist, up around the arm, and then down all the way to the lower leg. The wire and catheter would be extremely long, impacting the ability to maneuver them. And yes, an angiogram only can certainly be done to pinpoint the problem -- but then another similar procedure would be needed for the angioplasty. Many cardiologists/radiologists/vascular surgeons who perform these procedures would advise adding the balloon or balloon/stent onto the angiogram -- something which adds about 15-30 minutes but involves very little else. Most of the pain associated with these type of procedures has to do with getting access -- which is the same whether angiogram or angioplasty. The doctors will no doubt administer sedatives, but you should discuss with him/her what they use and what your sensitivity to pain is. It would be hard for a blockage to "get well" on its own. Bypasses can be done, but this is something you should, again, discuss with your doctor. As for coronary disease, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) is a systemic disease. If blockages occur in the leg, they may also be elsewhere. Whether or not they are significant enough to warrant an intervention is the question.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 23, 2012

• HI. I've been reading your angiogram posts. Here wrist approach, instead of femorally, seems to be new. I would like to know how wrist approach is done to push angioplasty balloon stent to lower left leg through artery? This is due to a totally numb,painful left foot, which began June 2011. For 6 wks., very painful. The pain is better now, except for walking, but the numbness is not going away. A CAT scan in August of 2011 showed two occluded arteries in lower leg, one less severe. What sorts drugs are routine for this conscious sedation test? I heard some doctors give a drug so you will not remember what happened. Why? All leg stents I know of from friends were done femorally. If wrist approach is easier and less painful, why isn't it used all the time. I'm afraid of having angioplasty done. Why can't angiogram be done to pinpoint problem without immediately having the balloon procedure? Also, what would be reason to have bypass surgery instead? Would that be general anesthesia? If I do nothing, can foot get well on its own. Why is only one leg affected? I've had no heart problem, but have a little chest discomfort at times. My foot is the problem. Thanks.
lynn, Mississippi, USA, January 23, 2012

• Hi again Lydia. It wasn't a 'wrist band' that my physiotherapist applied. It was an inflatable sleeve (full length of forearm) that gently pumped up & down to relieve the fluid build-up and was the only thing that eased the pain. I hope that's helpful.
Di in Sydney, Australia, January 19, 2012

• Lydia -- Just a point of reference here. The wrist band that is applied right after the radial angiography helps stabilize and stop any bleeding. But it's usually only left on for a short period: an hour or two. There are several brands: TR Band, RadiStop, etc. The inflatable sleeve that Di is talking about, we think, is a different thing altogether. Don't know what the name is though.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 19, 2012

• Thank you for the information Di, Sydney, Australia. He did have the wrist band after his procedure, and it was monitored very closely for 24 hours. The pain began in intensity directly after the procedure, his forearm was very swollen, and as you, he was in pain and bruised from his right wrist to his elbow with pain also radiating into his shoulder, and still is bruised. His doctors are saying it was from the trauma the artery went through and prescribed pain meds. They also do not seem too concerned as long as they have ruled out a blood clot. They just say to wait and see if it goes away! I'll contact the doctor's nurse today and see if we can get another wrist band for him. If it worked for you, then perhaps there is hope. Is your pain completely gone now after using the wrist band?
Lydia, Pengilly, Minnesota, USA, January 19, 2012

• I also experienced terrible pain in my right after angioplasty. I was purple from my wrist to elbow and the pain of it would wake me during the night, so I sympathize with your husband. My cardiologist didn't seem to take it seriously and just suggested more pain killers - they didn't work. Luckily, I thought to go see my physiotherapist who treated it with an inflatable sleeve pump (I don't know the correct name for it but it pumps up & down to relieve inflammation). I can't tell you how grateful I was to her. Maybe you could try the same. Good luck.
Di, Sydney, Australia, January 17, 2012

• Lydia in Minnesota -- You should definitely call this to the attention of the cardiologist who did the radial procedure. He/she may be able to help and also should be made aware of the complication. The wrist pressure band is just a way of stopping the bleeding, which is minimal. It's important to remember that the pressure band should not be put on too tightly or left on too long a period.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 16, 2012

• My husband had a heart attack December 9, 2011. Had 2 stents put in through his groin for 90% blockages. A third artery with 80% blockage was being treated for few weeks with meds, diet and therapy. However upon his stress test a few weeks later, the doctor decided not to prolong and arranged for a third stent on January 6th, 2011. They went in through the right wrist. Since the procedure, my husband has had sporadic continuous excruciating pain from his wrist all the way up to his shoulder. They did treat him with the wrist pressure band while in the hospital. This last weekend 01/14/12, had an ultrasound, chest x-rays and lab work, all of which were negative for clots, nerve damage or any other side effects. He still experiences such bad pain in his right arm that he cannot even sleep. Does anyone else have this problem? Otherwise, he is doing great and starts rehab all over again today, 1/16/12.
Lydia - MN, Pengilly, Minnesota, USA, January 16, 2012

• Jill from Ontario -- if you are having a cath done from the radial (wrist) approach, you should be able to have your legs slightly bent -- but you should call the cath lab ahead of time and let them know of your limitations/needs, so they can be prepared to make you as comfortable as possible. Maybe, if you can't get through to the cardiologist, a cath lab nurse or technician can help.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 12, 2012

• I was wondering if someone can answer a question. I am going in for my 2nd angiogram next week but I am unable to lay flat on my back without bending both my legs as well as having to pillows under my head..Will they still be able to do the angiogram?
Jill, Essex, Ontario, Canada, January 12, 2012

• The cardiologist mentioned the 'big' but rare risks associated with angiograms but not the debilitating after effects of right Radial artery access. My brachial artery went into spasm during the procedure. i seemed to lose my pulse for 8 days, got breathless and exhausted so went to A&E cos i thought i was`having a DVT. Nothing abnormal and after some pain, they found a pulse. I guess it will just take time to get itself better. Twelve days later i ache on both sides of upper and lower arm all way down to wrist and my arm and thumb cramp up really quickly. Luckily i am right handed and there's no other definitive way of diagnosing blockages!
cicely24, Northwest, UK, December 13, 2011

• Elmirah in Singapore -- As for the DSE being a false positive, this is not uncommon. Up to a third of the time, stress tests can be incorrect, usually as a false positive. A number of cardiologists, especially in the imaging field, feel that a CT angio may be a more appropriate initial test -- but this is a controversial subject in cardiology. In either case, a positive or inconclusive result usually leads to the cath lab -- which is where you had your problems. Again, sorry to hear that the radial procedure did not go smoothly. Can't say why, and can't really second-guess your cardiologist, but ideally this is not the way it is supposed to be.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, December 13, 2011

• Went through DSE for atypical chest pain last week 2011. Result was 90% inducible ischemia POSITIVE. Warded and undergo radial cardiac catheterization 2hours later. Given 4 "sedative" pills then wheeled to the cath lab. The procedure started with most painful insertion followed by a cut and forceful prodding. Believe me, I FELT every action the cardiologist did ???!!! He then cried "lots of blood" and told his assistant to attend. Thereafter, I sensed the catheter being rushed in. My unstrapped right leg was kicking and digging and I was freely shouting for pain -this time when the catheter got stuck above my elbow and later when it reached my "exploding" heart not due to the dye warmth but the hard prodding. The procedure was completed speedily with painful retrieval of drawn catheter and placing of compressed bandage. Reasons being it was NORMAL just like the procedure result. Given 2days inclusive Leave and 3days of painkiller. My questions are 1)How could a POSITIVE DSE turn out to be so FALSE 2) Must the NORMAL procedure be oh sooo painful and rushed 3) If the result is NORMAL-can the cardiologist dismiss the patient as rubbish just like his nurses insults at the ward? Perplexed*
Elmirah, Singapore, December 13, 2011

• I had an angioplasty 2 days ago and woke up this morning with a slight pain behind left ear. Its gradually got worse through the day. Paracetamol stops the pain for a few hours. Spoke to Cardio and to own GP and both said it can't be related but strange coincidence. Never had a pain behind ear before. Also, I was getting stomach pains before procedure which have now gone. Is this to be expected?
Tas, London, UK, November 25, 2011

• Ben and Marie -- Sorry to hear of arm pain following a radial procedure. While radial artery occlusion does occur, it normally does not have any adverse effects for the patient. Why you are having pain post-procedure is not clear. Have you discussed this issue with the interventional cardiologist who did the procedure?? It would be important to do so, not just for being able to get help, but also to let him/her know about this complication for future patient care.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 24, 2011

• Hello everyone, I had a femoral angiogram a few weeks ago followed by a radial angio last week. The femoral one was painful to walk on for approx. a week but the radial one, despite very little bruising to start with, is now so painful in my wrist it wakes me up at night. My inner forearm up to my armpit was a source of tremendous pain after the first couple of days, and a couple of points on my forearm were very delicate and inflamed and led to pain in my armpit, in addition to not allowing to extend my elbow without a severe 'pulling' sensation up my whole arm. This has now relaxed a bit but wrist is as painful if not more than it has ever been. It seems be constantly aching but then spasms into severe pain, also affecting my hand and forearm. It feels almost like it is cramping. I have read a lot of posts seemingly mentioning the same feelings and am worried it may be an occlusion. I am only 33 years old, with a healthy lifestyle (angiogram was to check a 'blockage' caused my genetic (not diet rltd) high cholesterol, and it turned out to be a myocardial bridge). How long should I wait until I should get it checked again, and should I worry about it being here for good?
Ben, Essex, UK, November 23, 2011

• RJS from Scotland -- thanks for sending in your positive experience. Our Forum can be a source of help for patients who have had have problems, but in the case of radial angioplasty, those problems are much fewer than with the more common (in the U.S. anyway) femoral approach. Still this Forum Topic can become the "complaint department" so it's good to get stories like yours -- that's actually the way it's supposed to be!
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 12, 2011

• I had radial angiography 2 days ago, I thought it was a fascinating experience and was able to watch part of the procedure, on finding blockages in an artery the consultant asked if it was alright to proceed with intervention to rectify this. I said it was OK and he proceeded to insert 2 stents. I feel fantastic, have no "heart ache" or any problems with my arm. This procedure was carried out at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and I can't praise them enough.
RJS, Fort William, Scotland, November 9, 2011

• I suffered a heart attack in May 2009 was treated with angioplasty in right wrist had two stents fitted to open blocked artery. Two years down the line I have severe, constant pain and weakness in my right hand and arm, all the way to the shoulder this is excruciating, and keeps me awake. Any answers!
Marie, Preston, UK, November 8, 2011

• I had a heart cath in my right wrist. Everything I read makes it sound like the new best thing. I am in so much pain. I am on day 5 I cried all thru my surgery from the pain that started when the Dr inserted the cath and after. I went to the Dr yesterday and he said the pain couldn't be from him even though i cried thru the surgery from the same pain. I don't know where to go now. I cant go back to work like this. It is 5 am and I just woke up that is the only reason my hand is stable to type and reach out, later it will be shaky from use. If I had know the procedure was new and I was a guinea pig I never would have allowed the arm access. I had a heart cath thru the groin in 2005 and never had this kind of pain. This stops me from everything and he did it in my dominant hand.
Pain in Struthers, Struthers, Ohio, USA, October 29, 2011

• I had a radial angiogram in MAY, 2011 which was completely normal thankfully. I did get a cellulitis at the site a few weeks later and was treated with antibiotics, and it has become swollen and pink a few times since then. I do work as a unit clerk in an Emergency Dept. and think that the constant friction of my right wrist with the mouse for my computer at my desk did not help. I still have a lump under the site, and it sometimes gets larger, then recedes again. Right now, it is the best that it has been in weeks. I think I may have turned the corner. I am not sure if anyone else has had a problem such as this. My wrist is pain free, no other complications.
Bev, Campbellville, Ontario, Canada, October 29, 2011

• Kim -- Radial artery occlusion is one of the few complications seen in the transradial approach. Normally it is benign, i.e. there are no symptoms. But obviously that is not the situation in your case. Read our interview with Dr. Samir Pancholy, who has devised methods for correcting this complication. Whether this will relieve your pain is hard to say. Your pain may also reduce over time. As we discuss with Dr. Pancholy, the monitoring of the pressure band is very important and the pressure should not be "too strong or too long". Manufacturers have been developing bands that automatically loosen, but still this needs monitoring.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 29, 2011

• I recently had a cardiac catheterization done via transradial approach. After the procedure was completed, the techs put a band on the site with a band. I was then transferred to the floor to wait. I noticed my hand was extremely numb and mentioned this to the RN, who exclaimed and came and barely loosened the band. It didn't relieve the numbness but I assumed this was normal. A few days after, I noticed my arm was sore and bruised and showed this to the tech who performed the catheterization who said that it was normal. 5 days after the procedure, my arm continued to ache and I contacted the Cardiologist on call who said to come in to have an ultrasound done and they found a radial artery occluded. I am frustrated as my arm and hand still hurts and am now getting pain in my thumb. I feel this all could have been avoided had the RN paid more attention to me and had monitored my arm more closely. Is there anything that can be done now? I'm only 55 years old and I feel this was preventable. Thank you.
Kim, Clearwater, Florida, USA, October 28, 2011

• Had angioplasty 6 days ago with 1 stent being fitted. I had previously agreed with the interventionalist that stents would be fitted there and then if needed, rather than wait to a future time. I had femoral angioplasty 9 years ago when 2 stents were fitted (one of which later blocked and was unreachable at the time - a minor branch off one of the main arteries apparently).I would say that the radial approach was for me much more convenient and allowed me to be mobile more quickly and home the same day. I experienced some discomfort at the wrist during the procedure and an uncontrollable shaking (which also occurred when I had the femoral angioplasty). Since getting home I have been feeling much better, no angina currently and feeling more energetic (though I haven't done anything really energetic yet). I have had some mild discomfort from the wrist and just above and the bruise has now fully come out. Overall I'm feeling much better than previously and grateful to the Bristol Heart Institute. Cardiac rehabilitation will start next week so I feel that I am being well taken care of.
Gramps, Bristol, UK, October 25, 2011

• Lenore -- It sounds like you have experienced one of the few complications of transradial -- a radial artery occlusion. We're so sorry you have suffered this complication. Read our interview with Dr. Samir Pancholy, who has devised methods for correcting this complication. You may want to contact him as well, since he practices in Pennsylvvania. And please let the readers of this Forum know the outcome.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 18, 2011

• I am 8 days post right wrist catheterization. Left hospital with soreness within 4 days had pain and throbbing so extreme and intermittent numbness. Called cardiologist, had vascular ultrasound completed and located a 4" blockage from entry point to underside of forearm. Was given three options - leave alone and deal with pain... have very invasive surgery to replace artery or have additional catheterization which could cause stroke... any thoughts??? live near philly and need another medical opinion.....
Lenore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, October 18, 2011

• Miss Concerned -- you have posted to our topic on the Radial (Wrist) approach to angioplasty. But you say your husband had angioplasty via the groin (the femoral artery). No idea why he would have problems in his hand from this. Also the procedure was done several months ago...so this might be something completely unrelated.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 18, 2011

• My husband had an angioplasty in May and June through the groin. He feels really good and we are just thankful that it was correct before it was too late. He has only just started having problems with his left hand. The thumb and joint is swollen and aching all the time. Is this a common occurrence? should we be concerned?
Miss Concerned, Northamptonshire, UK, October 18, 2011

• Heather in New York -- we would urge you to contact the cardiologist who did the procedure. He/she may have advice -- but certainly should be aware of the complication you are reporting. Please let us know what you find out.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 17, 2011

• Can a radial angiogram cause a lump in the arm about three inches above the wrist six weeks after the procedure? I had very few symptoms other than some bruising and sensitivity for a short time. About 9 weeks later, the lump has gotten fairly large and hurts if I put pressure on it.
Heather R, New York, USA, October 1, 2011

• Fefe in Houston -- We think your cardiologist may be referring to a radial artery occlusion. It's the most common complication from a radial procedure, although it is still quite rare. Read our interview with Dr. Samir Pancholy, who has devised methods for correcting this complication.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 1, 2011

• I had a catheter inserted through the wrist 4 months ago and a big zig zag lump comes in the wrist area. Dr said it is a blood clot but not dangerous....I am beginning to question that because the pain have now spread in fingers all the way up my arm to my shoulders, neck, and now in my jaw as well...Muscle hardens and pain is unbearable..nothing Dr can do but prescribe pain medication which does not work..lots of sleepless nights...
fefe, Houston, Texas, USA, September 27, 2011

• Lori in Illinois -- This is a question for your interventional cardiologist but, assuming there were no complications, one should be able to do a repeat procedure with no problems.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, September 15, 2011

• Can the radial procedure be performed twice in the same wrist? Is there a minimum time that one should wait?
Lori, Champaign, Illinois, USA, September 9, 2011

• Since June 26th I've had a radial angiogram, femoral angioplasty (2 stents) and most recently angioplasty performed right radial. There is no question that the radial approach was a more pleasant outcome. With the femoral, I had to remain on my back for 14 hours and had to be cathed. I ended up with a urinary track infection which was very painful. I did experience spasm with the removal of the wire in my first radial, but my doctor gave me medication on the second radial that made the removal pain-free.Very satisfied with Virginia Mason Hospital.
Bob, Seattle, Washington, USA, August 15, 2011

• CJ from Missouri -- thanks for your post. Sounds like the pain is related to the angiogram in some way. Have you consulted a vascular surgeon or a neurologist (in case this was from nerve trauma)? We're sorry to hear this. FYI, the "armpit" approach is not the same as the transradial approach, which accesses the artery fron the wrist. We're wondering if one of the reasons the "armpit" approach was used (not common) was because of peripheral disease preventing other access sites.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 3, 2011

• I am US citizen, now retired. Regarding problems with arteriograms; had one via armpits, both, immediate constant severe pain in both arms from shoulder to fingertips, over 3 years. Never before but since then, have severe skin cracking and swollen forefinger and thumb on right hand. Also had a heart cath which caused collapsed artery, had to have surgery. No skin or hand problems before. Been several years and still have problems. Have had main artery replaced down front and had no problems. That done in 1991. Nothing has worked to heal hand problems or on going hand/finger pain. Had arteriograms via groin before with no lasting problems. Wanted to pass this on since I know problem started with hands following morning after armpits arteriogram. Wish something could be done about problem?
CJ from USA, Missouri, USA, July 29, 2011

• Sarah from UK and Scaredandconfused in Virginia -- see Dr. Kumar's post from May 18 for some info. But you both are clearly experiencing complications from your radial angiogram. Have you gone back to the interventional cardiologist with your complaints. (A) He/she may be able to help relieve the problem; (B) it's important for that interventionist to hear feedback that there was a problem. Complications in the radial approach are much less common than with the femoral approach, but they do exist. Hopefully the pain will subside, but see your cardiologist (again, make sure it is the same one who did the procedure) and let the Forum know the outcome. Thanks.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, July 29, 2011

• ANSWER PLEASE I am like a lot of other people on this forum, I had a radial angiogram 6 days ago, with initial difficulty in accessing my artery and then a muscle spasm. I am a normally very fit and healthy 55 year old, only one week off work in the last 10 years. I have gone back to work yesterday and am suffering debilitating arm pain / aches that travel all down my arm and into my shoulder, that I can barely control with ibuprofen and acetaminophen in combination. Does this get better? There doesn't appear to be any answers in this forum to this question??
Sarah, United Kingdom, July 29, 2011

• I had a radial cardiac-cath performed about 2 weeks ago. There were no blockages found, and I didn't have any bruising or pain on my wrist after it was performed, but ever since I have had the procedure, I can only sleep on my back. If I sleep on my side or stomach, my arm goes numb from the shoulder all the way down to my fingertips. Sometimes the numbness is also in my chest right above my breast, leading all the way over to near my heart. Two days after the procedure I woke up at night and my body was hard jerking on the side I had the procedure done on, starting at the top of my arm all the way down my right side along the major vein line, then moving across to my left side. My stomach squeezed really tight. It was like I was having a seizure, but I was fully conscious and could speak fine. It went away on its own after about 20 minutes, but I never had anything like that happen in my life; it was very scary. My arm is also not as strong as it was; it feels weak off and on. I was told there weren't any complications to be expected after doing a radial procedure, especially if nothing was found and no stints were placed, but I have had these problems since.
Scaredandconfused, Hampton Roads, Virginia, USA, July 16, 2011

• I am an Interventional cardiologist from India and we have done about 2000 Radial angiograms in Smaller Built patients including Females .I Read the "Problems" reported by many patients ESPECIALLY FROM the UK after a " radial angio" - which seems Quite More than what we have experienced in our Hospital. Out of 2000 patients in our Hospital only 10 complained of such " severe " POST PROCEDURE ARM pain in our Experience and ALL OF THEM WERE FEMALES WITH NORMAL CORONARY ARTERIES !! I think in case of females with possible Normal coronaries and Coronary Spasm the Cardiologist should Warn the patient about POST PROCEDURE pain which may last for 1week.AntiSPASM DRUGS should help . Also I think Procedure Experience of the Doctor will prevent such severe ARM pain
DR R RAVI KUMAR, FORTIS MALAR HOSPITAL, CHENNAI, INDIA, May 18, 2011

• Cleveland Clinic Transradial Angiogram through left radial artery. Dx.~ MALS. Celiac artery compression upon breathing in/out blood flow w pics taken. Wasn't too bad compared to Femoral area entry I had in 2004 for electrophysiology, ablation. I was awake during this procedure at the C.C., w very little sedation, giving me the ability to watch, and ask questions to the team. I am bruised, and still sore.
Jan, Tucson, Arizona, USA, May 15, 2011

• Worried in U.K. -- The "bruising" was the result of an access site complication, relatively rare in the radial or wrist approach. We assume that resolved itself. As for the other symptoms you are having, they have nothing to do with the radial or femoral approach. Read over our topic, "Not Feeling Well After Stenting". If your symptoms have not resolved, definitely discuss this with the interventional cardiologist who did your stent. The idea is that stenting makes you feel better, not worse.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 9, 2011

• My fore arm was extremely bruised after my procedure for at least 2 weeks. Also felt "sore" across my chest. Had mine done in December 2010. Told that arteries are O.K. angina must be caused by artery spasm. Getting more tired and breathless by the week but being told everything is fine !! Any answers out there?
Worried in U.K, Manchester, United Kingdom, May 8, 2011

• Lisa from England -- Have you contacted your doctor about this, the cardiologist who performed the angiogram? He/she should (a) definitely be made aware of your problem, and (b) may be able to help you. Complications from the radial approach are very low in percentage, but they do occur. There are several possible causes, from radial artery occlusion (usually benign) to nerve or vascular complications due to prolonged compression, etc. Identifying the specific cause of your pain is important to moving forward on a treatment plan. Let the Forum know what you find out.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 9, 2011

• I had an angiogram 2 weeks ago through my right wrist. Initially the pain eased after 2 days or so. Now the pain is so bad, possibly worst ever had that I am unable to sleep, work is awful as even painkillers don't ease it. I'm so in pain have tried everything to relieve it. Arm is slightly swollen but not hot, pain from wrist to forearm is dreadful, pain and numbness in thumb and hand. HELP PLEASE!!!!!!
Lisa, Wombourne, England, April 9, 2011

• Jimmy from England -- Hard to think how the problem could have anything to do with the radial access, since it didn't show up for a couple weeks. Your pain may, however, have something to do with the stents. We'd suggest you contact the interventional cardiologist who did the procedure -- overlapping stents are more prone to restenosis. But if it's the radial access he/she should also be made aware of your situation. And please let us know the outcome. And "hand gone bad" from Omaha -- we're not clear about when your symptoms occurred. You say it's been 4 years since your radial procedure (was it an angiogram or angioplasty?) When did your symptoms start?? And have you discussed this with the interventional cardiologist who did the procedure??
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 23, 2011

• I had two overlapping stents put into my arteries via radial approach, felt great for a couple of weeks, then the bloody pain started and God does it hurt, i am in so much pain, at first rehab thought it was a shoulder impingment, now i'm thinking something has gone wrong with the radial procedure, my thumb to my shoulder and neck are are in so much pain and its spreading to the left side, please help in anyway possibe...
jimmy, Salford, England., March 23, 2011

• i had a transradial approch in oct 2007 have had nothing but promblems since they say my blood supply was bad and now that i have nerve damage from this has anyone else had this promblem please let me know thanks pain in the hand swelling numores surgerys awww very wrong.
hand gone bad, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, March 10, 2011

• Rikki -- Your husband really should communicate with the interventional cardiologist (who is not technically a surgeon) who did the procedure. First, he/she may be able to help him. The radial approach, like any medical procedure, is not complication-free, but all the data and studies have shown that complications are significantly lower in percentage than going through the femoral artery in the groin. Certainly your husband's symptoms are not normal and should be addressed. Secondly, it is important for the person who did the radial procedure to know about any complications, and perhaps alter their approach accordingly. One of the big advantages of the radial approach is increased patient comfort, so an outcome like your husband's is certainly unwanted. We would advise discussing this with his cardiologist. Please let the Forum know of any new information and thanks for posting.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 5, 2011

• My husband had an angiogram/plasty four months ago, with the lead going through his right wrist. Since then he has not had a moment without pain. It is swollen and constantly in pain. He particularly can't move his wrist sideways. He hasn't gone back because he figures his options are X-rays, meds, or surgery. I consider it an abysmal failure, although the stent seems OK. I would make sure of the experience of your surgeon.
Rikki, Northeast US, USA, March 5, 2011

• I live in the UK and had a Femoral Angiogram 10 days ago. The only pain was the incision into the artery which lasted about 30 - 45 seconds. After that I had no sensation of anything taking place. The recovery procedure involved a FemStop device applying pressure for 2 hours (the pressure was reduced over this time) and me lying on my back for this period. After two hours I was able to sit up for a further hour. I was then helped out of bed and walked about/sat on a chair as I chose. After four and a half hours I was allowed to go home.

As my chest pain was becoming constant I elected to have private treatment for the angioplasty stent procedure. This meant that I had the procedure within seven days of the original Angiogram instead of waiting 4-6 weeks for the procedure in our National Health Service. This time the procedure was carried out through the radial artery in my right wrist. I felt absolutely nothing during the whole procedure and have had more trauma and pain visiting the dentist. A 3 centimetre by 3.5 millimetre stent was inserted at 1.30pm and I walked out of hospital with my wife at 7.00pm feeling very well with no pain and no wrist bleeding. A brilliant job!.
GeoffH, Warrington, Cheshire, United Kingdom, February 26, 2011

• D from Maryland -- glad to hear the radial procedure worked -- curious as to why it wasn't used the second time? Alsom just a technical point, Angio-Seal, or any vascular closure device, is not needed or used to stop the bleeding in a radial case. There are various plastic bands used, but they are just a way of maintaining light pressure, and only for a relatively short period of time. That's the beauty of the radial approach. Patients can stand up, walk around, etc. immediately after the procedure.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 4, 2011

• My 87y/o mom is in rehab now - had a femoral angio procedure WITHOUT a closure device and developed a pseudoaneurysm eight hours later and required emergency surgery followed by ICU. She later developed MRSA infection in the wound and required another surgery. She now has two or more months of therapy and wound care in front of her - The bill for the first surgery alone was over 16K - - A previous radial cath was done WITH the Angioseal - and no complications!
D, Maryland, USA, January 24, 2011

• All these posts so helpful - wrist is extremely painful, radiating to hand and arm, 2+ weeks after uneventful radial angioplasty (no blockage found) for which I am thankful. I was unsure about this pain (which can be severe if bumped or pressed) and it was reassuring to hear that is has been a site effect for others. Think I'll run it my doctor when I see him this week, just to mention it - sounds like no real fix. Thanks to all posters....was still worth finding out my heart problems are electrical/arrhythmia rather than blockage
Cheryl, Washington State, USA, January 15, 2011

• I had a radial angiogram performed in june 2010, it was extremely painful in fact I would say it was the most pain that I have ever had and I don't know why. I have a pulsating lump over my ulnar artery in my wrist and have pain and weakness in my right arm 7 months later.The sedative wiped all my memory out except the pain and I had problems with my memory for months afterwards. I was not told about the sedation or pain. Please ask for a full explanation if you are to have this procedure, if I had known I would never have had it done.
Yasasii, Cornwall, United Kingdom, January 12, 2011

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