This is a picture of a patient, Nancy Vitale, who just had a blockage in her very complex, calcified and tortuous right coronary artery opened up with angioplasty and a stent. She is getting up off the cath lab table and walking to recovery, where she’ll be sitting up in a chair. For those readers familiar with angioplasty, you may be wondering why she is not lying flat on her back for four hours or more. The answer is “it’s all in the wrist”.
Transradial angioplasty, where the access site used is in the wrist, as opposed to the groin ( or femoral) artery, has been gaining acceptance in the U.S. (it’s been utilized much more in Europe and Asia). And at Angioplasty.Org, we’ve been discussing this approach for several years now in our Transradial Access Center. Not only are complication rates lower, but patient comfort is much higher. Patients, like Nancy, are able to sit up and walk immediately after the procedure. Although due to the complexity of her procedure, Nancy needed to stay overnight, many patients are actually able to return home the same day.
Part of the spread of this new approach in the U.S. is due to more cardiologists learning the procedure; and part of it is due to more patients discovering that the wrist is an option.
The interventional cardiology group at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey has both parts covered. An article in today’s Star-Ledger by Seth Augenstein, titled “A second opinion on unclogging arteries: Catheters through wrist, not groin“, details the procedure and lets residents of New Jersey know that the transradial approach is available in Morristown.
And, as far as training cardiologists goes, Morristown Medical Center is hosting a training course on April 21st. Titled the “Mid-Atlantic Radial Symposium (MARS) 2012“, the course will feature experts in the field, Drs. John Coppola, Sunil Rao, Samir Pancholy and others, according to Dr. Jordan Safirstein who, by the way, performed Nancy Vitale’s angioplasty and is profiled in the Star-Ledger article.
If you are a patient, Dr. Safirstein and hundreds of other interventional cardiologists who practice the transradial approach are listed on Angioplasty.Org’s “Transradial Hospital Locator.” You can learn more about the procedure in our article “Wrist Angioplasty: A Patient’s Guide to Frequently Asked Questions.” If you are a cardiologist looking to learn this procedure, check out Angioplasty.Org’s Transradial Training page.