Valley Heart & Vascular Institute - Radial Artery Catheterization

Radial Artery Catheterization: A Safer and Gentler Approach Through the Wrist

In many cases, people who experience chest pain or a cardiac emergency - such as a heart attack - undergo a cardiac catheterization procedure to determine the extent of coronary artery disease. The procedure also may be used to open flow-limiting blocked arteries with balloons and coronary stents.

During most traditional cardiac catheterization procedures, a cardiologist uses the femoral artery in the groin as the entry point for the catheter, which is guided through the body’s arteries to the heart using a fluoroscope. An alternative - the radial artery approach -- allows a cardiologist to insert the catheter through the radial artery in the wrist to perform exactly the same procedure, diagnose cardiovascular disease and treat blocked arteries with angioplasty.

Inserting the catheter through the radial artery in the wrist, rather than through the groin, has been shown to markedly reduce bleeding and other serious complications compared to groin access. Most patients can sit up and walk immediately after the procedure and have a faster recovery period overall.

Cardiologists at the Valley Heart and Vascular Institute have been using this approach since 2010, and perform this procedure more than 200 times per year. They are among a select few in northern New Jersey now performing catheterization procedures though the radial artery.

"Wrist-access catheterization is particularly beneficial for obese patients and for those who have peripheral arterial disease," said cardiologist Robert A. Saporito, M.D.


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