Used to diagnose and treat heart conditions, cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure by which X-ray guidance is used to help insert catheters (small tubes) into the body. The catheters can be inserted either through the groin (the traditional way) or the radial artery in the wrist (called radial artery catheterization).
Cardiologists at Heart Center of the Rockies use the radial artery catheterization procedure when it is medically appropriate for the patient.
Radial artery catheterization has been shown to decrease recovery time and reduce the amount of bleeding. However, radial artery catheterization is not medically appropriate for every patient. Talk to your cardiologist to find out if you are a good candidate for this procedure.
During the procedure a local anesthetic is administered through the wrist. A blood thinner is given to help prevent clots from forming in the artery. Catheters are then advanced through a tube (sheath) and guided to the heart. Once the catheters reach the heart, the coronary angiogram and stent placement (if necessary) are performed.
Once the procedure is complete, the catheters and sheath are removed from the radial artery. You will be asked to wear a compression device for about two hours, avoid heavy lifting and stress to the wrist. By the third day after the procedure, normal activity with the hand can usually be resumed.
For more information, call Heart Center of the Rockies at 970.221.1000.