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Lourdes Offers Optional Approach for Arterial Disease Patients with Radial Catheterization

Procedure associated with greater comfort, reduced site complications than traditional femoral approach.

Interventional cardiologists at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center are evolving their standard treatment method for patients with arterial disease with a new cutting-edge approach to traditional catheterization.  

In addition to femoral artery catheterization, which has long been the norm to treat patients with arterial diseases such as coronary artery disease, physicians at Lourdes are adopting a more advanced technique using the radial artery as a way to shorten recovery time, increase comfort and improve overall patient outcomes.

Unlike the traditional approach, which involves threading a catheter through the femoral artery in the groin and up into the heart, the radial technique is performed using an artery in the patient’s arm, the radial artery.

The benefits associated with the radial approach have encouraged many physicians to begin using this new access point for eligible patients. In general, patients who undergo radial artery catheterization experience:  

  • Shorter recovery time
  • Lower rates of complication
  • Less bleeding
  • Less risk of nerve trauma

While the femoral artery is still the dominant choice for catheterization in the U.S., it is estimated that nearly 10 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are now using the radial approach for the majority of their cardiac patients.  

“The radial approach is more challenging for physicians to learn since not as many interventional cardiologists in the U.S. have been trained in the technique compared to other countries around the world. Those who have learned the technique, however, tend to use it for most of their patients who require catheterization. By teaching this approach to all cardiologists, both patient and physician can experience the benefits of this technique,” said Thierry Momplaisir, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at South Jersey Heart Group, an affiliate of Lourdes Cardiology Services.  

Thanks to the more recent development of smaller, better-designed catheters and stents, the radial approach is now possible for most catheter-based procedures. Dr. Momplaisir estimates that over 70 percent of his patients are eligible for this advanced technique.  

While most patients are candidates for catheterization through the radial artery, a small percentage are not if the two arteries that supply blood to the hand are not functioning well enough. In that case, the femoral approach then becomes the safer alternative for those patients. Whether a patient’s arteries are functioning properly is determined using a simple test called an Allen test. The test is performed right in the physician’s office and determines if both arteries are functioning properly.

For those patients who are eligible for the radial approach, the benefits are significant. Radial catheterization not only makes it easier for the physician to insert the needle into the artery due to its closeness to the skin’s surface, but it is also more comfortable for the patient. Most patients are able to get up and walk almost immediately. Any bleeding from the radial artery is readily apparent versus the femoral which cannot be seen right away.

Furthermore, the radial approach is more beneficial for obese patients and the elderly. It makes access to the artery much easier and avoids patients having to remain in the hospital lying on their backs for several hours after the procedure to ensure there is no bleeding, which can be difficult and uncomfortable.

“Based on our experience performing this technique and several major studies that have been done, it has been determined that the radial artery catheterization is just as successful as the femoral artery approach and additionally, includes many added benefits for the patients. By making this innovative technique available to our patients at Lourdes, we are further proving our commitment to offering the most advanced treatments in cardiac care in New Jersey,” commented Lourdes interventional cardiologist, Timothy Morris, D.O., F.A.C.C.

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