May 2010

Heart Catheterization Through the Wrist Performed at St. Joseph


Tacoma, WA

Cardiologists at St. Joseph Heart & Vascular Center are among the first in the area to insert catheters through patients’ wrists in order to diagnose and open clogged arteries that cause heart attacks. Most cardiac catheterizations begin at the femoral artery in the groin, but using the radial artery in the wrist reduces the risk of complications. While diagnostic and interventional procedures are virtually the same when either artery is used, there is a difference at the end of the procedure. When a catheter is inserted through the femoral artery, patients must lie flat for up to six hours after the procedure to prevent bleeding. When the radial artery is used, there is almost no risk of bleeding, and patients are able to sit up and move around almost immediately after the procedure. For more information, contact Gale Robinette, galerobinette@fhshealth.org.