Radial Artery Catheterization
Originally performed through larger arteries including the femoral artery in the groin and the brachial artery in the upper arm, pioneers in the field of Interventional Cardiology demonstrated through the early 2000s the feasibility of conducting the procedure through the radial artery, a smaller artery in the wrist. Gaining access to the heart through the radial artery in the wrist decreases complications, improves patient comfort and reduces costs without affecting procedural success rates. It has been shown to be strongly preferred by patients as it allows for earlier ambulation and discharge from the hospital, as well as return to normal function. Increasing amounts of data support the benefits of radial PCI in terms of improved survival in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). In a recent large meta-analysis of all randomized trials addressing this issue, which included nearly 20,000 patients, ACS patients receiving radial access enjoyed a 28 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. Despite these significant findings, the majority of patients in the United States undergoing PCI continue to receive their procedure through the groin.
According to the American College of Cardiology, only 25% of cardiologists in the U.S. currently perform transradial heart catheterizations and interventions. For this reason, those most likely to benefit remain the least likely to receive this treatment (risk/treatment paradox). This paradox occurs largely because of reduced operator experience. To surmount the risk/treatment paradox, and thus provide proven benefits to more patients, operators must achieve a higher proficiency in radial PCI. For patients experiencing STEMI – the deadliest form of heart attack – the stakes are even more and survival depends on rapidly restoring blood flow to the ischemic heart muscle and reducing infarct size as quickly as possible. Dr. Diwadkar is one of the 25 percent of interventional cardiologists in the U.S. performing radial artery catheterizations and is a leader in the use of transradial PCI in STEMI cases in the Tampa Bay region. At Ascent Cardiology, we are committed to elevating the field of cardiovascular care to help our patients achieve greater longevity, with fewer complications.