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Innovative Wrist Access Cardiac Catheterization Technique Now Available in Queens

David Levine (212) 772-9447
Cynthia Bacon (718) 670-2515

Flushing, N.Y. February 10, 2010 – New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ) is leading the way with an innovation that uses a small hole near the wrist to make a common, but often urgent, cardiac catheterization procedure easier for many patients. 

The hospital’s Heart & Vascular Center offers this cardiac catheterization technique that uses the patient’s wrist (radius) to access blood vessels leading to the heart, rather than in the groin area.  Radial access catheterization is widely used in Europe and China, but is only offered at select hospitals in the United States.

There are approximately 1.2 million cardiac catheterizations done in the U.S. each year.   Cardiac catheterization is used as a tool to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions utilizing 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.  Traditionally the catheter is inserted through the patient’s groin area, but interventional cardiology specialists at the Heart and Vascular Center of NYHQ say that cardiac catheterization through the wrist can be better for some patients.

“Inserting the catheter into the patient via a small hole in the wrist, rather than through the groin area is a great advancement for older or obese patients, and for those who have sleep apnea, vascular disease, or poor leg circulation,” says Chong H. Park, M.D., director, cardiology and director, cardiac catheterization laboratory. “It’s also excellent for patients with back and spine issues, who can’t lie on their back during a procedure.”

For appropriate patients, the radial (wrist access) approach results in reduced bruising, bleeding, and complications. Most patients can sit up and walk immediately after the procedure and may have a faster recovery period overall.

The radial (wrist) catheterization procedure has been shown in studies in to lower bleeding and vascular complications from 58 percent to 73 percent (see reference below). However, despite these positive statistics, the radial procedure is only used in the United States 1 percent of the time while it is used about 50 percent in Europe, Canada and Japan (see reference below).   According to Dr. Park, the wrist access procedures performed in the U.S. are done primarily at leading heart centers such as NYHQ.  “However, as physicians become more familiar with the benefits of wrist access, we expect to see it being used more often,” he explained. 

Having this innovative technique available in addition to the traditional approach to catheterization is part of the NYHQ Heart and Vascular Center’s commitment, as the Heart Hospital of Queens, to offering advanced treatment and techniques for physicians and their patients.  “It is important to recognize that this option may not be for everyone.  Whenever possible, patients and their physicians should discuss which method is more appropriate for the individual situation,” said Dr. Park.

New York Hospital Queens is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.


Note to Editors: Dr. Park is available for interviews on this innovative procedure he has brought to Queens. Dr. Park is triple board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology. 

Discussion can also be arranged with patients who have had these procedures, and in some cases, procedures can be observed.  Many of our staff are multi-lingual and can provide information in Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.

  Jolly SS, Amlani S, Hamon M, et al. Radial versus femoral access for coronary angiography or intervention and the impact on major bleeding and ischemic events: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am Heart J 2009; 157: 132-140.J Am Coll Cardiol Cardioavasc Intervent 2008: 1: 379-386.

  Rao SV, Ou FS, Wang TY, et al. Trends in the prevalence and outcomes of radial and femoral approaches to percutaneous coronary intervention. J Am Coll Cardiol Cardioavasc Intervent 2008: 1: 379-386.

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