Radial Access Cath

Memorial Medical Center and Springfield Clinic offer an innovative cardiac catheterization procedure that uses patients' wrists, rather than the groin region, to access blood vessels leading to the heart. Cardiac catheterization is used as a tool to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions using a thin plastic tube, known as a catheter, that is inserted into an artery or vein and then can be advanced into the chambers of the heart or into the coronary arteries.

The procedure, known as radial access catheterization, is performed in the cardiac cath labs at Memorial Medical Center. While the procedure is used widely in Europe and China, few hospitals in the United States offer it. Patients receiving the radial access catheterization can often sit up and walk after the procedure, while patients receiving the traditional catheterization typically need bed rest and observation. They also may have a faster overall recovery period and reduced bleeding, bruising and complications.

Two Springfield Clinic cardiologists specialize in radial access catheterization. They are Adeeb Ahmed, MD and Christian Zellner, MD.

Information for Physicians

While femoral access has a long history of use and is widely accepted based on technical ease and use of larger catheters, disadvantages include bleeding at the entry site, prolonged bed rest required, increased frequency of back pain, urinary retention and neuropathy.

At Memorial Medical Center, in conjunction with Springfield Clinic's Department of Cardiology, we're specially trained and fully equipped to perform diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterization through the radial artery. An advantage to the radial approach includes dual blood supply which limits the potential for limb-threatening ischemia. Radial access is also advantageous for patients with difficulty lying down (back pain, obesity, CHF). With this procedure, the vessel is easily compressible and nerve injury is less likely. The radial approach allows earlier patient ambulation and greater comfort during and after the procedure. Complications are less frequent, and studies show patients prefer this approach.

What patients are viable candidates for the procedure?

Patients with good pulsating radial arteries and with adequate collateral connections with the ulnar artery are suitable for transradial approach.

Those with absence of radial artery pulsation or functional collaterals as demonstrated by the Allen's test or an arteriovenous shunt for renal dialysis are generally excluded.

Is the procedure available locally?

Memorial Medical Center, in partnership with the Springfield Clinic, performs numerous radial access catheterizations per month. Our expertly-trained staff and state-of-the-art technology allow our physicians to effectively treat patients and return them to you for continued care.

Where is the procedure performed?

Radial catheterization procedures take place onsite at Memorial Medical Center in our cardiac cath lab. Our team of professionals, including registered nurses, registered radiologic technologists and cardiovascular technicians, has received specialized training in the procedure at the University of Illinois at Chicago and utilizes evidence-based processes.

Why choose Memorial?

Memorial Medical Center and its physician partners are committed to high-quality, patient-centered care. In pursuit of our mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve, we have a committed team of expertly trained, highly experienced professionals who have access to cutting-edge technology. We are fully equipped to perform radial approach procedures and return your patients to you for follow-up care.

How do I refer a patient?

To initiate the process, simply refer your patient to Drs. Ahmed or Zellner at Springfield Clinic. Our goal is to treat your patient's coronary needs and return them to you for follow-up care. We will communicate with you throughout the process and provide you with extensive documentation upon discharge.