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Wrist Angioplasty Summit in Boston Sponsored by The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI)
Distinguished Faculty of Transradial Interventional Cardiologists Assembles for Day-Long Teaching Session

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SCAI Radial Summit

The radial artery in the wrist can be used for angiography, angioplasty and stenting

November 4, 2010 -- Boston -- How do interventional cardiologists learn a new technique for placing stents once they're out of their fellowships and settled into a practice? If that technique is using the radial artery in the wrist to reach the coronary arteries surrounding the heart, then a good way to start would be to attend tomorrow's "SCAI Radial Summit" in Boston. But you would have had to sign up weeks ago, because the course is filled up.

Acknowledging the enthusiastic response, The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) has scheduled a second course, the SCAI Transradial Intervention Program (TRIP) to be held on January 15, 2011 in Philadelphia.

Popular in Europe and Asia, the transradial (or wrist) approach to percutaneous catheter-based diagnostic and interventional procedures is just starting out in the U.S. Various hospital centers and cardiologists who have learned the transradial technique have been offering courses to other physicians and cath lab personnel on a limited basis for the past several years, but recently SCAI has become involved in promoting training. The organization hosted two major symposia on the radial approach at its Annual Scientific Sessions held in San Diego this past March, and is now offering what may become a series of meetings around the country.

According to course co-director, Dr. Pinak Shah, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Interventional Cardiology Training program at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, tomorrow's course is the first time a national professional society has sponsored such a gathering:

"The national meetings often have a radial symposium and they're generally pretty short. The last one at ACC lasted for maybe an hour-and-a-half. But the room was packed. So we're really excited that SCAi was so ready, willing and interested to jump into this.... We wanted to put something together that was backed by a society that everybody knows, that most interventional cardiologists are a part of, and with that kind of clout hopefully bring in some of the biggest names in radial catheterization and intervention. That was actually a piece of cake: within a couple days people had cleared their schedules and said, 'I'm coming -- I want to be a part of this!' So there's been a lot of excitement and interest among the high volume radial operators that the Society is going to get involved and really push this thing forward -- because in the end, I think we all believe, this is going to be a better thing for patients."

    Pinak Shah, MD,
Pinak Shah, MD, FSCAI
-- Boston, MA

The advantages of transradial access over the femoral (groin) approach have been the subject of many of the articles and interviews on Angioplasty.Org -- course co-director Dr. Christopher Pyne of the Lahey Clinic just outside of Boston listed the driving forces behind the increased adoption of the radial approach:

Christopher Pyne, MD,
FSCAI -- Burlington, MA
    "There's been an increased recognition of the importance of vascular access site complications in the outcomes of patients who have percutaneous interventions. Bleeding used to be viewed as a nuisance and transfusion was thought to be a minor problem in a patient's care. But, with all the data over the last several years, showing that bleeding has an independent and important contribution to mortality and morbidity in our patients, I think the recognition that the prevention of vascular access complications is really a very big deal and a big driving force. Secondly, at institutions that are doing it, patient satisfaction is just through the roof. Patients just love it. And that starts to get around and people start to realize that other places and other centers may be doing it and they may sort of be behind the curve there. People are also driven by the anticipation of radial PCI being helpful for same day discharge, which I think all of us think will be a big part of angioplasty going forward. Finally is that the increase in training in fellowships and increased availability of courses is allowing people to learn to do the procedure."

The SCAI Radial Summit takes place from 7:00am-5:00pm on Friday, November 5, 2010 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

About The Radial Access Center on Angioplasty.Org
To assist in educating the professional and patient population in the U.S. about the this technique, Angioplasty.Org created the "Radial Access Center for Transradial Approach" in 2007, 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. Jeffrey Popma, Sunil Rao, John Coppola, Shigeru Saito, Jennifer Tremmel and Howard Cohen. The section also maintains a listing of upcoming training courses in the transradial approach.

For patients there is also a "Hospital Locator" that lists U.S. centers practicing radial angiography. As Dr. Howard Cohen of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York 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!'

Reported by Burt Cohen, November 4, 2010