Heart procedures now performed through wrist

Teche Regional’s Ron Callegari, cath lab director, and Dr. Juan Escarfuller, a Morgan City cardiologist, recently were featured in Cath Lab Digest.

The pair visited Arkansas Heart Hospital, which serves as a training center for physicians from around the world, to train for a new service offered at Teche Regional that utilizes transradial access for cardiac catheterization.

Each year, more than 1 million cardiac catheterizations are performed in the United States and most of them go through the upper leg to gain access to the arteries that lead to the heart. The process is called transfemoral access.

Cardiologists at Teche Regional Medical Center are performing more and more heart catheterizations by going through the wrist (transradial access) rather than the groin. This access approach is making a real difference in patient outcomes, patient recovery and patient satisfaction, said Sabrina Roy, Teche Regional marketing director.

This is not a new procedure. Actually, the first transradial diagnostic catheterization was performed by Dr. Lucien Campeau, a French-Canadian physician, in the late 1980s. By 1993, a research team in Amsterdam, led by Dr. Ferdinand Kiemeneij, began using the transradial technique for interventional procedures.

Once the artery is engaged, whether transradially or transfemorally, the diagnostic and interventional procedures are virtually the same. One big difference, however, is what happens at the end of each procedure. With transfemoral access, the patient generally must lie flat for four to six hours post procedure so that an attending nurse or technician can apply pressure to the upper leg. This is necessary to ensure the puncture site stops bleeding.

With transradial access, the patient is able to get up almost immediately after the procedure, allowing the patient to use the bathroom, sit up and read a newspaper, eat or have a cup of coffee. In short, the procedure enables the patient to be mobile much faster and with less post-procedure pain.

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