Earlier this year, McLeod Heart and Vascular Institute Cardiologists began offering patients, who meet the physical requirements, the opportunity to have their heart catheterizations performed with a transradial approach, which is through the artery in the wrist.
There are several advantages of this approach that patients can expect, including a reduced risk of vascular and bleeding complications, shorter duration of rest after the catheterization and increased patient comfort. To qualify for the transradial approach, the patient must have good blood circulation in their arm.
For the patient's ease following the procedure, a Transradial Lounge has been created in the McLeod Heart and Vascular Institute. In this lounge, patients can relax in recliners, have something to eat, or watch television. They are not restricted to complete bed rest.
"Patients are free to move about as needed," said Kathy Sims, Director of the McLeod Heart and Vascular Institute. "They stay here for one to two hours for the nurses to be able to monitor their vital signs before being discharged home."
Heart catheterizations, a procedure used to evaluate the heart's blood flow and pumping ability, are traditionally performed through an artery in the patient's leg, or more accurately in the groin.
Those who have experienced a previous heart catheterization often remember the four to six hours of lying completely still with a compression weight on the insertion site at the groin. The wrist insertion site only requires one to two hours of applying a small plastic band about the size of a wrist watch. It velcro's onto the wrist and then is inflated with a small amount of air to add pressure to the insertion site.
"For many patients lying still with the compression weight at the groin site is the most difficult part of having a catheterization," said Sims. "The wrist band is one more benefit of the transradial approach. And, having the Transradial Lounge makes for a more relaxing atmosphere for their short recovery time."