• Accessing the Artery


    This content requires Flash Player.

    Dr. Kimberly Skelding discusses the benefits of radial angioplasty, where a blocked heart artery is accessed from the wrist.

    During angioplasty and stenting, your interventional cardiologist can choose to insert a catheter through one of two access points in your body:

    • an artery near the groin for femoral angioplasty, or
    • an artery in the wrist for what is called radial angioplasty.

    Use of the radial technique, though practiced safely abroad for years, is relatively new to the United States, although it increasingly being used by interventional cardiologists throughout the world. Both techniques have been studied extensively and found to be safe.

    Radial angioplasty, when available and appropriate for the patient, presents a few advantages for patients and hospitals:

    • Patients who have angioplasty performed through a puncture site in the wrist do not have to lie flat for hours after the procedure as do femoral artery patients.
    • Radial angioplasty patients can typically sit up or walk around as soon as anesthesia permits.
    • Patients who have had angioplasty performed through the radial artery can also eat or drink soon after the procedure.

    However, not all patients can have angioplasty performed via radial access. Some patients are not good candidates for radial access. These patients will undergo femoral angioplasty.