Having an coronary angiogram or heart stent placed via the wrist approach is common in Europe. India and Japan — much less so in the U.S. — even though the wrist (transradial) approach offers lower complications and higher patient comfort. Some studies have even shown that the radial approach, with its significantly lower bleeding complications, is superior in treating heart attacks (STEMI) since those patients need to be on high levels of anticoagulation meds.
So why are only 5% of U.S. procedures done via the wrist while figures in other countries run 50-80%? One reason has been training. In the U.S. cardiology fellows are trained in the femoral (leg/groin) approach, because that’s what’s practiced at their hospitals. So it’s been a self-perpetuating practice. Continue reading
This weekend Richard R. Heuser, MD, FSCAI and John E. Lassetter, MD, FSCAI of St. Luke’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona will be conducting a one-day course in transradial (wrist) angioplasty at the Wynn/Encore Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. But the games of chance will be relegated to the casinos because, as Dr. Heuser recounts in his exclusive interview with Angioplasty.Org, the wrist approach to diagnostic and interventional coronary procedures is safer for patients, more comfortable for patients and (trumpet fanfare) has the potential to reduce costs of healthcare as well.
And Dr. Richard Heuser has been performing PCIs since the beginning days of balloons and stents — so his perspective on why the transradial approach offers significant benefits is definitely of import to cardiologists across the U.S. Continue reading