What Is a Transradial Heart Catheterization Procedure?

Reviewed on 5/8/2020

What is a transradial heart catheterization procedure?

Transradial cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure to diagnose and treat certain cardiovascular diseases.
Transradial cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure to diagnose and treat certain cardiovascular diseases.

Transradial cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure to diagnose and treat certain cardiovascular diseases. A thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted through the radial artery in the hand and into the heart and its blood vessels. Ultrasound scanning and continuous X-ray (fluoroscopy) are used for guidance during the procedure.

Traditionally, the primary route for cardiac catheterization has been the femoral vein in the groin (transfemoral). The catheters used in the earlier days were larger and needed a large blood vessel to go through. Advancement in technology has made transradial catheterization possible with thinner catheters that can go through smaller blood vessels.

Advantages of transradial approach over transfemoral

  • Improved patient comfort, since patients don’t have to lie flat for a long period after the procedure, as is the case with transfemoral approach.
  • Less expensive and shorter hospital stay.
  • Lower risk for
    • Bleeding at the catheter entry site, because the radial artery is small and superficial, and bleeding can be easily controlled with gentle pressure.
    • Hematoma and blood collecting inside the layers of the vascular wall (pseudoaneurysm).
  • No risk of bleeding in the abdominal cavity (retroperitoneal hemorrhage).
  • Beneficial for patients who

Disadvantages of transradial approach

  • Technically more challenging and requires a high level of expertise to negotiate the loops in the radial artery and aortic arch.
  • Increased procedural time resulting in increased radiation exposure from fluoroscopy. (The procedural time reduces with experience level of the surgeon).

What is a cardiac catheterization done for?

A transradial cardiac catheterization may be performed for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

Diagnostic

Therapeutic

A transradial approach is avoided

  • If the patient’s radial artery is too small to insert the catheter
  • If transradial access is blocked for any reason
  • In hemodialysis patients, in the hand in which they have a shunt for dialysis

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References
Medscape Medical Reference

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