More doctors unclogging heart arteries through wrist

By | June 11, 2013

During artery unclogging procedures, doctors are increasingly accessing the heart through a vein in the wrist, rather than in the groin, Medical News Today reported.

Artery unblocking surgeries, known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary angioplasty, involve widening narrow areas of the artery by angioplasty or another similar method. Traditionally, doctors in the United States have accessed the heart through the femoral artery in the groin.

However, a new study in the journal Circulation reveals that the number of wrist-entry operations, or radial PCIs, in the United States increased 13-fold between 2004 and 2007, Medical News Today reported.

Based on data gathered from nearly 3 million procedures, researchers found that patients had a lower risk for bleeding complications during wrist-entry surgeries, compared to groin-entry surgeries. This is relevant because many patients undergoing artery unclogging surgeries are also on blood thinners, increasing their risk for bleeding complications post-surgery.

As radial PCIs increase in popularity, researchers note that they are most effective for high-risk patients, including people 75 or older, women and patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACE), Medical News Today reported.

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