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Benefits of Heart Catheterization through the Wrist

March 13, 2012

With heart disease being the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States, it’s no wonder thousands of cardiac catheterization procedures are performed each year to diagnose and treat heart disease. The procedure involves inserting a long, thin tube called a catheter through the arteries toward the heart to determine if there are blockages. Since the 1950s catheterizations were performed predominantly through the femoral artery in the groin. In an effort to improve the procedure, a growing trend is transradial catheterization, in which the catheter is inserted through an artery in the wrist, which many patients say they prefer.

64 year old Richard Caswell and his wife Jeannie, who has chronic lung disease, have been through a lot. He’s had quadruple bypass surgery and three heart catheterizations. But his last heart cath procedure was by far the easiest.

Caswell’s cardiologist, Ibrahim Fahsah, M.D., says 70 percent of the heart catheterizations he does today are through the transradial artery in the wrist. He says it’s easier to access than the traditional way of going through the femoral artery in the groin, especially if the patient is overweight.

And when the procedure is done through the wrist it’s easier to stop the bleeding. The procedure through the groin requires heavy pressure over the incision when the catheter is removed and the patient must lie flat on their back for several hours perhaps even overnight.

There are certain situations in which doctors may not be able to use the transradial artery or the procedure may require a larger catheter, which would make it necessary to use the femoral artery.

For more information about this procedure, go to or call (502) 629-1234.

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