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New approach to heart surgery aids recovery

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St. John's Regional Medical Center and Freeman Health System, both in Joplin, introduced a new surgical procedure for heart patients earlier this year.

Randy Craig, MD, a cardiologist at St. John's, has used the transradial approach in performing several coronary angiographies (also referred to as transradial coronary catheterization) since his arrival in January.

Craig was formerly at St. Louis University Medical Center where he has been performing this procedure for nearly two years, according to a St. John's news release.

Dr. John Cox, of Freeman's bi-plane catheterization laboratory, used the trans-radial approach to perform a balloon angioplasty through the radial artery in the wrist, rather than through the femoral artery in the leg.

Cox achieved a stent placement during the procedure, as well.

The transradial approach was also used to perform diagnostic procedures on another patient the same day, stated a release from Freeman.

There are several advantages for patients if the transradial approach is used in performing an angiogram vs. using the femoral approach (going through the artery in the leg), St. John's reported.

The radial artery is a major artery located in the arm and is easily accessible.

The patient enjoys mobility immediately after the procedure, and is able to go home one to two hours following the procedure.

In the traditional approach of using the femoral artery, patients have to lie down for six hours, and pressure is applied to the entry site.

The radial artery is not located near significant veins or nerves.

Because of its location, the radial artery allows for superior control of the artery and a decreased risk of bleeding complications, the St. John's release stated.

Likewise, in the Freeman procedures, the radial artery method provides for quicker recovery and less discomfort.

"Coronary angioplasty procedures and stent placements are usually performed through the femoral artery in the patient's thigh," stated Bob Deardorff, director of cardiovascular services at Freeman, in the release.

"Cardiologists at Freeman are now accomplishing these same procedures through the radial artery in the wrist with similar success."

Performing the procedures through the wrist lowers the risk of complications, decreases a patient's discomfort, and reduces the patient's recovery time. In some cases, the patient may even be discharged from the hospital on the day of the procedure, Freeman stated.

Prior to performing the transradial procedure, the Allen's Test is done on the patient.

This test allows the physician to check the patient's blood flow in the arm area of both the radial and ulnar arteries to ensure proper flow returns to this area, the St. John's release stated.

Freeman's Dr. Cox has been performing angioplasty procedures for 17 years.

"This new approach opens up a whole new world of comfort and ease for our patients," Cox said in the Freeman release.

"Although the transradial approach is not for everyone, it does offer several very promising possibilities."

The transradial approach for coronary angiography was first described by Dr. Lucien Campeau in 1989. It later gained widespread acceptance in Europe, and it is becoming more common in the United States.

St. John's has been performing this procedure since early January 1998.

Freeman has been offering the transradial approach to treat coronary artery disease since February of this year.


By using the radial artery in the arm instead of the femoral artery in the leg, the patient enjoys immediate mobility

and is able to go home one to two hours after

surgery, with a decreased risk of bleeding complications.[[In-content Ad]]


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