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Medical Monday: What is radial artery...

Posted: 7:24 PM, Apr 11, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-12 00:24:43Z
Dr. Scott Weslow, an interventional cardiologist with Aurora BayCare, joined us on “Wisconsin Tonight” to talk about radial artery catheterization.
 
Cardiac catheterization refers to placing some form of catheter (a thin, flexible tube) into a blood vessel to measure pressures and/or to study the anatomy of a blood vessel or the heart. Radial artery catheterization is a similar, minimally-invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions. It helps determine whether a patient has a disease or blockage in his or her coronary arteries. It’s administered through the wrist or radial artery instead of through the groin or femoral artery, the traditional option. It’s not necessarily new, but it’s gaining momentum as a viable alternative.
 
A catheter is threaded through a blood vessel and into the heart. It’s typically inserted through the femoral artery in the groin because it offers a large artery with the most direct route to the heart. However, use of the radial artery in the wrist is increasingly favored as a safer option. It’s said to offer less bleeding and fewer complications.
 
Most patients qualify for the radial option. An Allen’s test is used to determine how well the blood circulates through the arteries to help ensure they are healthy and clear for the procedure. Ideal patients must have a reliable blood supply to their hands.
 
This procedure offers patients several benefits including:
 
* Minimal bleeding
* Faster recovery
* Less risk of nerve injury
* Reduced rate of complications
* Increased comfort as patients can move around immediately after their procedure
 
They advise patients to wear a compression device over their wrist, usually for two hours after the procedure.
They can resume normal activities after about two days. Common post-operative instructions after radial artery catheterization include warnings against:
 
* Placing any undue stress on the radial artery
* Lifting heavy weights with the hands
 
Reminder: Signs of heart attack
 
* Discomfort like pain or pressure in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
* Pain and discomfort in both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
* Shortness of breath
* Breaking out in cold sweat
* Nausea or light-headedness
 
For information, call Aurora BayCare Cardiology at 800-236-6309.