Palmetto Health Heart Hospital is one of the first in the area to perform cardiac catheterization through the wrist in a procedure called radial artery catheterization. For better patient care, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital has created a radial artery suite to monitor all patients. In the suite, patients who have had the procedure will have cardiac nurses monitor them while they rest in recliners until their departure.

"Radial artery catheterizations are a 'game changer,'" said Palmetto Health Heart Hospital cardiologist Dr. Kyle Hewett. "There are short term as well as long term advantages. I now look for a reason not to do radial artery catheterization. They are just that much better for the patient."

The traditional entry point for a cardiac catheterization has been in the groin area through the femoral artery. Radial artery catheterization involves insertion of the catheter through the radial artery in the wrist. The benefits of the procedure include:

  • shorter recovery time
  • lowered risk of complications due to excessive bleeding
  • immediate test results
  • mobility immediately after the procedure (instead of immobility for at least four hours with femoral entry)
  • another alternative for those frightened by catheterization through the groin area

Although, most patients qualify for this procedure, unfortunately, not all patients are candidates. A person's ability to use radial artery cath is determined by his or her physician based on information such as blood supply to their hands, through both the radial artery and the ulnar artery.

Stephen Pickney of Columbia, S.C recently had this procedure. Pickney was happy having his catheterization done this way especially after having a traditional one in the past. He said, "I especially liked it since unlike before there was no down time. With this one, pretty much when I was done I was ready to go. With the other one, it took me about a week to fully recover."

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), an estimated 82 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease. Of those who experience chest pain or an emergent event, such as a heart attack, many undergo a cardiac catheterization to determine their level of heart damage or disease. The procedure also is used to open blocked arteries that are limiting blood flow through the heart and preventing oxygenated blood from traveling properly through the body. AHA also estimates that more than 2.7 million catheterization done in the U.S. each year.

For more information about physicians who perform radial artery catheterization at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital, call 803-296-2273.

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