From an interview with
Dr. Fred Krainin
McLeod Cardiology Associates
A cardiac catheterization no longer requires hours in a bed or an overnight hospital stay following the procedure. McLeod Cardiologist Dr. Fred Krainin explains how you can have your cardiac cath and go home the same day for dinner.
Here’s a summary of Dr. Krainin’s comments:
Heart catherization is a procedure that we do to detect blockages in the coronary arteries. We insert a thin flexible tube into the arteries of your heart and inject dye to see if there are any blockages. Traditionally, that procedure has been done from the large artery in the leg, the femoral artery. In the last several years, however, we’ve started doing more of them through the radial artery in the wrist. It gives us the same information and it has some advantages over the older femoral approach.
The biggest advantage of the transradial technique for the patient is safety. The most serious complications that occur after either a heart catherization or a stent procedure involve complications with the blood vessel in your leg that we use, and those complications include bleeding, blood clot and infection that can sometimes be serious — even life threatening. Sometimes a surgeon has to do an emergency repair of damage that’s done to the artery in your leg.
By going through the artery in your wrist, we almost completely eliminate those complications. So, it’s really much safer. That’s the number 1 benefit. A second benefit is convenience for the patient. Using the traditional femoral approach, when we went through the artery in your leg, you’d have to lie flat in bed for up to 8 hours with a big heavy sandbag on your leg. With the radial approach, you can literally get up and walk off the cath lab table and sit down in a seat comfy chair. There is no bed rest required. So, the biggest advantages are number 1, safety and number 2, comfort and convenience.
Typically, we would consider same-day discharge for a patient, who comes in as an outpatient for an elective heart catheterization, is found to have a blockage and a stent is placed at the same time. If everything goes smoothly without complications and, particularly, if it’s done from the radial artery, that patient may be considered a candidate for same day discharge. Now, if the patient is already in the hospital, having had a heart attack, that person would likely be kept in for overnight, 1 or 2 nights and then go home the following day.
Most patients that come in for this procedure as an outpatient would prefer to go home that same day, if it’s possible and if it’s safe. They can go home, have dinner at home and sleep in their own bed, rather than be in a hospital.
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