Radial Cardiac Catheterization: Differences and Benefits

By: Dr. Ashwani Kumar

A cardiac catheterization is a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions (for example, blockages). During a cardiac catheterization, a catheter is put into a blood vessel so that a doctor may perform diagnostic tests and treatments on your heart.

The difference between a standard catheterization (femoral) and a radial catheterization has to do with the location of the initial access to the heart. In a radial catheterization, access is obtained through the patient’s wrist as opposed to the groin.

With the increasing popularity of the procedure, let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of radial cardiac catheterization.

Benefits of Radial Catheterizations

Radial catheterizations possess meaningful benefits when compared to those procedures completed through the groin. Because the radial artery is much smaller and located closer to the skin surface, internal bleeding is eliminated during a radial catheterization. In addition, any external bleeding can be easily compressed. The general comfort level of people who receive a radial catheterization is much higher as well.

Patients who receive the procedure through the groin must stay in bed for the next two to six hours. They can’t sit up, nor can they eat food during this time. Alternatively, those who receive radial catheterizations almost immediately return to normalcy and tend to have much shorter hospital stays.

Who Is a Candidate for Radial Catheterization?   

The majority of people qualify for radial catheterizations, including those who have chest pains or have had a heart attack. The procedure is typically administered on those with a potential blockage of the heart.

The only people who are not good candidates for radial catheterizations are people on hemodialysis or those who do not have good blood circulation in the hand. Before the procedure begins, a physician may test the blood supply. If both of the main arteries are working, it is safe to proceed with the procedure. A radial catheterization may be performed from either wrist, and the physician may have specific reasons to use one side over the other.

If you’d like to learn more about radial cardiac catheterization for yourself, please contact us today to make an appointment.


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