It’s all in the Wrist: Seeing blood flow to heart through the radial artery

Your heart needs an adequate supply of blood to function. With the American Heart Association stating more than one in three adults has some form of cardiovascular disease, it is key to be educated about your heart.

If you’re interested in the blood supply to your heart, you may have heard about an angiogram. This procedure allows your doctor to see any narrowing or blockage in your vessels that supply blood to your heart. Dr. Bao Le is a Scott & White cardiologist in College Station and is specially trained in these types of procedures.

Dr. Le is an expert in not only standard angiograms, but also offers angiograms through the radial artery in your wrist.

“It is my privilege to be able to perform this procedure,” says Dr. Le. “I am thrilled that Scott & White offers the radial approach to our patients.”

What is exciting about the wrist approach is the care and comfort of the patient.

Groin angiograms were the standard diagnostic procedure for patients who experience heart attack, chest pain, shortness of breath, heart failure, or patients with an abnormal stress test. These angiograms are done by placing a thin tube or catheter through an artery in your groin, also called the femoral approach, and is usually associated with longer recovery time.

With the growing capability to perform radial/wrist angiograms, Dr. Le and others are able to provide a better patient experience.

Dr. Le explains a number of benefits of radial angiograms, including:

  • Reduced risk of complications
  • Reduced recovery time: less bed rest and faster moving or walking
  • Reduced the cost of the procedure
  • More comfortable for the patient

“This technique has revolutionized cardiology practice in recent years,” says Dr. Le. “As compared to femoral approach, we are still able to provide excellent invasive care with reduced risk and more comfort.”

So much comfort, that patients may even be able to go home the same day of their angiogram since the catheter is inserted through the wrist instead of the groin.

“I think this is an excellent technique,” says Dr. Le. “If no contraindications exist, my angiograms are performed primarily by radial approach.  As a result, patients may go home on the same day of the procedure, even if they receive a stent.”

This technique requires a great deal of skill and training. Dr. Le says the radial approach is more challenging, especially to know how to treat conditions outside of the norm.

However challenging, Scott & White has a number of physicians who are skilled and capable. Radial angiograms are available in Temple, Metroplex, Round Rock and College Station.

“Scott & White continues to be a leader in innovation and technology,” says Dr. Le. “Our cardiologists not only perform radial procedures but also teach these skills to future physicians as part of their fellowship training.”

Dr. Le says catheterization via the radial artery was first introduced back in the 1940s, but its practice only became widespread within the past few years among US, Europe and Asia.

Scott & White is privileged to be on the forefront of new procedures. With so many medical terms and options, it’s good to be educated about new innovations. Medical progress means a better experience for you and your heart condition.

“Every day, more and more patients request their angiograms be done radially,” says Dr. Le. “Our institution is ready to meet the demands of our patients.”

If you are interested in a wrist or radial angiogram, please consult with your physician or visit our website for more information.

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