Do you think a Cardiac Catheterization procedure can be performed through your wrist?

It is necessary to try to surpass oneself always. This occupation ought to last as long as life.
- Queen Christina.

This notion holds true, when it comes to advances in Interventional Cardiology. When was it the last time that anyone heard that a Cardiologist can perform a Cardiac Catheterization procedure through a patient's wrist rather than the groin area?

Today, only 5% of Cardiologists in the U.S. can perform Cardiac Catheterization procedure (Cath) through the radial artery in the wrist. This procedure is called Transradial Catheterization Procedure.

So why is a Cardiac Catheterization procedure done?

Cardiac Catheterization is a non-surgical procedure which is done to diagnose Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Cardiologists do this procedure to evaluate the blood flow to the heart and heart's pumping ability. In this procedure a thin tube called catheter is inserted in the artery and guided to the heart. A special dye is injected through the catheter. The x-ray then shows if any of the coronary arteries are blocked. If the arteries are blocked then the Cardiologist may do an angioplasty to open up the blocked arteries by the use of stents.

Normally, Cardiologists will do the Cardiac Catheterization procedure by inserting the catheter in the femoral artery in the groin area. But now Cardiologists are beginning to do the Tansradial Catheterization procedure by inserting the catheter in the radial artery of the wrist of the patient.

Benefits of Transradial Cath versus Femoral Cath procedure:

  • In case of a femoral cath procedure at the groin area, there is a slightly higher risk of bleeding at the catheter insertion site after the procedure compared to a radial cath procedure involving the radial artery at the wrist site.

  • After the Transradial Cath procedure the patient can get up from bed and move around soon after the procedure while in the case of a femoral cath procedure through the groin area the patient needs to stay still and requires bed rest for at least 6 hours after the procedure.

Who is a candidate for Transradial Catheterization Procedure?

Most heart patients can have Transradial Catheterization procedure if they pass the Allen Test. In an Allen Test a Cardiologist compresses the ulnar artery for a few minutes and then compares the color of the two hands. Next, the Cardiologist then compresses the radial artery of the patient for a few minutes and compares the two hands again. If the Cardiologist sees that the blood circulates well through the ulnar and radial arteries, the patient is considered clear for the Transradial Cath procedure.

What to expect during a Transradial Cath Procedure:

  • During the procedure, you will experience slight burning when the medication is injected into your radial artery at the wrist.

  • After the procedure a tight band (Hemoband) will be placed just above the injection site. You will be asked to move your arm/wrist for 2 to 3 hours.

  • After the bleeding stops the band will be removed and you will be sent home with specific instructions on when to return to your normal activities, usually you are back to your normal life in 3 to 4 days.

Dr. Khalid Shafiq at Paris Cardiology Center is now offering Transradial Catheterization procedure at the Cath Lab at Paris Regional Medical Center.

Transradial Catheterization procedure is the evolving trend for most outpatient procedures including diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization procedures and Cardiac Intervention procedures.


Ayesha Shafiq, Director of Paris Cardiology Center. Wife of Khalid Shafiq M.D. and mother of their 2 children. Director of Paris Cardiology Center for 11 years. Masters in International Relations. Runs management with the help of 22 employees.