For many patients, cardiac catheterization can be performed through the radial artery in the wrist, known as transradial catheterization or wrist catheterization, instead of using an artery in the groin. The femoral artery in the groin has been traditionally used because it is a larger artery that allows for a larger, more easily maneuvered catheter.
Your physician will conduct a non-invasive test in the catheterization lab to be sure that there is sufficient collateral blood flow to the hand. If this test is normal, the physician can then access the same coronary arteries through the wrist as during a femoral catheterization procedure. If the patient's condition indicates a need for a stent, this can be done through the wrist as well.
A transradial catheterization has several advantages, including:
- It is a more comfortable procedure for patients.
- There is virtually no risk of bleeding complications where the catheter is inserted. This is especially important for patients who have other medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders, obesity or peripheral arterial disease.
- Recovery time is much faster. Following a transradial catheterization procedure, a simple wristband is used to compress the artery. The patient can sit up and walk around immediately, as compared to a patient undergoing a femoral artery procedure who must lie flat for four to six hours following the procedure.
- Patients can often eat within an hour of their procedure.
In the first video below, interventional cardiologist Dr. John Wang, chief of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, discusses the benefits of using the radial artery for this procedure. In the second video, he walks through an actual transradial catheterization procedure. Dr. Wang easily makes access using the same coronary arteries through the wrist as during a femoral catheterization procedure. In the third video, patient Steve Sindler tells his transradial catheterization story.
Meet Our Interventional Cardiologists
- Learn more about this type of catheterization from John Wang, MD.
- Learn more about heart conditions treated by transradial catheterization