Transradial Cath in Bakersfield

Dr. Tommy Lee performing a transradial catheterizationI’m always keeping an eye on the growing number of news stories about a “revolutionary new way to open the coronary arteries”: the transradial approach, that is, where the radial artery in the wrist is used as the entry point for catheters, angioplasty balloons and stents. This latest TV report was broadcast Friday on KGET-TV, Channel 17 in Bakersfield, California. (Late update on August 5, 2013 – Unfortunately, KGET did not archive the broadcast, but you can read more about Bakersfield’s transradial program here .)

It’s a good report because it not only interviews Dr. Tommy Lee, the interventional cardiologist who has started doing radial caths (about 100 so far) because he feels it is safer, but it has a couple patients talking about their experience. Dr. Lee states in the broadcast that he believes radial is the future of cardiac catheterization:

“We’ve done over a 100 procedures here at [Bakersfield] Memorial now and we’ve had no bleeding complications — the patients just love the results.”

Of course, a cardiologist in Europe might look at this broadcast and smile, because transradial to a European cardiologist (or a Chinese, Japanese or Indian cardiologist) is neither new nor revolutionary — in OUS (Outside the United States) the transradial approach is used 40-50% of the time. Many cardiologists use it 90%. It’s just that it has taken a long time for this approach to be accepted in the U.S. (You can read all about this in Angioplasty.Org’s Transradial Center.)

But this technique, first described in 1989 by Montreal cardiologist Dr. Lucien Campeau, finally is catching on in the U.S. — the chief advantages are reduction in bleeding complications, comfort for the patient and cost-savings for the healthcare system (since the complications are lower and patients can be safely discharged the same day).

BTW, a shout-out to Cindy Welch, whose blog “Designs from the Heart” is where I first saw this interview.


Filed under Media Coverage, Transradial Approach

2 Responses to Transradial Cath in Bakersfield

  1. Karen Castro

    My doctor is referring me to a cardiologist for stress test and possible angiogram due to chest pains after walking one lap. Because of being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses many doctors don’t accept our scriptural view on not accepting blood transfusions. I am interested in transradial angiogram procedure. I have done some research on this method which I would feel is less invasive. If you have worked with Jehovah’s Witnesses I would like to give your name to my doctor for a referral to see you. Thank you.
    Karen Castro

    • Karen – Thanks for your comment. You are correct that the transradial wrist approach has far less bleeding complications and the incidence of blood transfusions being needed (due to a complication) are close to zero. We’d suggest getting in touch with Dr. Lee at Bakersfield Memorial directly. You can also look for other centers where the radial approach is practiced on our Transradial Hospital Locator, which is organized by state.

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