Inside the Heart
Every year thousands of people have cardiac catheterizations (caths) to diagnose and treat heart disease. The transradial cath approach through the wrist is safer, more effective and comfortable for patients. Cardiologist Georges Hajj takes us inside St. Luke's Cath lab for an exploratory transradial cath.
More about transradial cath
A catheterization is when a cardiologist threads a catheter through the heart arteries to look inside the heart and explore for blockages or heart issues.
Until a few years ago the femoral artery near the groin was used as an access point for this procedure. Now heart catheterization procedures use a more advanced wrist or radial artery. More complications are associated with the femoral artery which can now be avoided by using the radial artery.
Cardiologist Georges Hajj, MD
, explains, "Radial cath is the standard of care for the vast majority of patients treated at St. Luke's hospital. It's associated with less complications, specifically bleeding compared to groin access. It also has faster recovery and patients can sit up immediately after the procedure. This procedure requires skilled and experienced operators in manipulating cardiac catheters from the wrist safely. The faster recovery from this procedure makes it easier and relatively safer to send many patients home the same day after receiving coronary stent."
Dr. Hajj goes on to explain the additional benefits of this approach. "It is also much better tolerated by most patients. It is very beneficial in emergent situations such as for patients with acute sudden heart attack. Many of those patients request to be sent home couple hours after they come in with a life threatening heart attack, as they go from 10/10 chest pain and feeling as they are dying, to feeling completely fine within minutes. However, for heart attack patients they would still need to be admitted to watch for any possible complications from the heart attack event."
Dr. Georges Hajj a St. Luke's Cardiologist performs a balloon valvuloplasty at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids Heart & Vascular Institute.