Features June 2015 Issue

Research Supports Heart Catheter Procedures That Start in the Arm

Coronary catheter procedures that begin in the arm, either from the radial or ulnar arteries, are becoming more widely used. The procedures are usually done from the right side, because most cardiac catheterization labs are set up to have the physician working on the patient’s right side. These procedures are alternatives to those done through the femoral artery in the leg, which have a higher risk of bleeding complications.

Research Supports Heart Catheter Procedures That Start in the Arm

Accessing the heart through an artery in the arm leads to less bleeding than going in through a leg artery. But sometimes doctors have no choice.

The majority of coronary catheter procedures are still done by inserting the catheter in the femoral artery in the upper leg and guiding it up to the heart. But recent research suggests that going in through an artery in the arm—using the radial or ulnar arteries—may be a safer choice.

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