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Radial Angioplasty Training at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York

July 20, 2008 -- New York -- The recently published M.O.R.T.A.L. study showed that catheterization, angioplasty and stenting utilizing the wrist artery for access halve the complication rates seen in the femoral (groin/leg) approach and are associated with a significant reduction in mortality. Even so, the wrist approach, called transradial access, has not been practiced much in the United States.

According to Dr. Kirk Garratt of the Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute of New York, one reason the radial procedure is less used in the U.S. has to do with the training process for cardiologists:

"Despite the benefits of transradial access, most fellowship training programs continue to train clinical and interventional cardiologists using a transfemoral technique. That perpetuates the practice."

However, training opportunities for cardiologists to learn the wrist technique are becoming more popular. St. Vincent's Hospital in New York has announced it's third course this year, noting that its June course was fully enrolled weeks in advance. Dr. John T. Coppola, Chairman of Cardiology at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan and Dr. Tak Kwan, Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Interventional Cardiology at The Brooklyn Hospital Center of New York, will be presenting a two-day hands-on training course for cardiologists on the clinical, didactic and practical aspects of Transradial Access, including tips and tricks, equipment usage, pharmacology, and patient, physician and hospital benefits. In addition, physicians will get to practice cases with transradial simulators and participate in live-case presentations as well.

The course will be held on October 1-2, 2008 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village, New York. A brochure and registration information are available online.

John T. Coppola in the Cath Lab
Dr. Coppola in the Cath Lab

The transradial angioplasty technique, where catheters are threaded to the coronary arteries from the radial artery in the wrist, is used much more widely in Europe, India and Japan.

Besides the medical benefits in terms of lower complications and less bleeding, patients who receive the transradial technique are able to sit up and walk immediately after the procedure -- eliminating hours of laying flat and motionless -- something that is often the most difficult and painful part of the catheterization process for the patient.

But one of the main reasons Dr. Coppola uses the transradial approach, whenever possible, is safety. In his exclusive interview with Angioplasty.Org, Dr. Coppola states:

"For the patients, the benefit is that it's a safer procedure. There's a lack of bleeding. And everything that's coming out now in the literature suggests that if you have bleeding complications, it impacts not only on your short-term, but your long-term survival.... [For the cardiologist,] having that benefit in terms of less bleeding makes you more willing to use potent antiplatelet agents, like IIb/IIIa inhibitors...because you're not worrying about retroperitoneal bleeds or groin hematomas."

    Dr. Coppola
John T. Coppola, MD

To assist in educating the professional and patient population in the U.S. about the this technique, Angioplasty.Org has created the "Radial Access Center for Transradial Approach", a special section devoted to information and news about the transradial technique, for both patients and physicians. The Radial Center features interviews with leading practitioners of the radial technique, such as Drs. Mauricio Cohen, Jeffrey Popma, R. Lee Jobe, John Coppola, Kirk Garratt and Howard Cohen.

For patients there is also a "Hospital Locator" that lists U.S. centers practicing radial angiography. As Dr. Howard Cohen, also of Lenox Hill Hospital, says of the wrist technique, "Patients really prefer it. 95% of people who've had it both ways would say 'I'm coming back to you, Dr. Cohen because I like this transradial a lot better than the other way!'"

Details on registering for this course are available in this online brochure.

The course is being held on Wednesday and Thursday, October 1-2, 2008, at:

St. Vincent's Hospital -- Manhattan
170 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

The course receives support from Terumo Interventional Systems.