Interventional cardiologists at the TriHealth Heart & Vascular Institute perform both traditional stent and balloon catheter angioplasties, also known as percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). These procedures help widen restricted, narrowed or obstructed vessels to restore blood flow.
Angioplasty is one of the most common treatments for heart attacks. During a heart attack, time is crucial to saving your heart muscle, and more importantly, your life. TriHealth's Heart & Vascular Institute has developed multidisciplinary protocols that work to speed heart attack patients to heart-saving angioplasty in an average of 50 to 60 minutes, much faster than the 90-minute national standard.
At the TriHealth Heart & Vascular Institute, we have equipped local squads with EKG transmitting equipment so we can have our team standing by when a heart attack patient arrives.
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Aside from performing traditional angioplasties, the TriHealth Heart & Vascular Institute is the first in the region to perform coronary angiography and angioplasty procedures on a routine basis from a radial artery approach, meaning increased comfort and faster recovery for you.
Transradial access, offered specifically at TriHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital, is a method of performing cardiac catheterizations (coronary angiograms) and angioplasty using the radial artery in the wrist to access coronary arteries. This treatment boasts a variety of benefits to the patient, including:
Additionally, TriHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital is the only hospital in Cincinnati looking at the radial artery approach as the first option for our angioplasty patients. With the advent of low-profile catheters designed to be used from the radial artery approach, the technique may be applicable to 90 to 95 percent of patients.
Since initiating the program in October 2009, more than 400 transradial procedures have been performed. Success rates and patient satisfaction scores have been very positive. An angioplasty patient’s odds of survival at TriHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital are 43 percent better than expected for comparable hospitals.
During a cardiac catheterization, a catheter is inserted into the body through an artery and threaded up to the arteries of the heart to assess those vessels for blockages. When necessary, balloon angioplasty may be used to open blocked arteries and insert stents—expandable, slotted metal cylinders—to keep the arteries open.
About 95 percent of the time, physicians in the U.S. use the femoral artery in the groin area as the conduit for the catheter that travels to the coronary arteries. The procedure works well, although sometimes the area is slow to clot once the catheter is removed. Patients have to lie still and flat for a few hours to minimize risks of excessive bleeding and of pooling blood that can leave large, sometimes painful bruises.
Transradial access employs the radial artery in the wrist for catheter insertion. This procedure has several benefits, including fewer bleeding complications, and patients can sit up immediately after the procedure. Because the recovery time is faster, the hospital length of stay may be shorter, saving both time and money.
Medical training patterns in the U.S. and concerns with obstructing blood flow to the hand were major reasons American doctors haven't commonly used the transradial approach. Medical studies have established that risks of transradial access to the hand have been lowered due to improvements in catheters and techniques. They note the method's clinical effectiveness, high patient satisfaction and swift recovery process as primary reasons to offer this alternative.
A large proportion of patients who require cardiac catheterization are eligible for wrist access. Exceptions would include those with a poor pulse in the radial artery or an artery that is too tiny. Although transradial access won't replace use of the femoral artery, Good Samaritan physicians expect its use to grow in the coming years.