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Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Radial Access Cardiology? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Radial Access Cardiology?

If there is a problem with your heart, doctors will often use a procedure called a cardiac catheterization to help fix the problem. A catheter, or small tube, is placed inside one of your arteries, and then doctors use images on a screen to navigate through them and to your heart. 

In the past, the femoral artery in the leg was a typical starting place. Now, however, doctors are using the radial artery, and starting from the wrist. 

"What radial means is we are actually using the artery in your wrist, where you can put two fingers and feel your pulse, to get to your heart," said Ashley Jones, RN, manager of the cardiac catheterization lab at Martha Jefferson Hospital. 

The switch was made thanks to improvements in technology.

"Technology for cardiac catheterization is getting smaller and smaller, so our sheaths, the IVs that we put into arteries, are getting smaller, so that's how we're able to use a smaller vessel now," commented Jones. 

For patients, the procedure is shorter and recovery is quicker. A compression bracelet is put on a patient's wrist for about an hour, and after that, they can get back to their normal routine. 

The final benefit is that complication risks are minimized. 

"It reduces bleeding complications," said Jones. "The most common complications from cardiac catheterization is bleeding from the site where we go in to get to your heart." 

It is important to note, this procedure isn't for everyone and patients should talk with their doctors about the best option for them. 

"It will ultimately come down to the physician doing the procedure to make that decision." 

For more information on cardiology services at Martha Jefferson, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009. 

If you have a question you would like for us to answer, email us at healthquestions@nbc29.com

Do you have health questions? Starting June 4, get the answers every Monday morning from the experts at Martha Jefferson Hospital in our new feature: Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

Submit your questions now! Just click this link and write your question in the email. Then tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Martha Jefferson Monday brought to you by NBC29 and Martha Jefferson Hospital.

 
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