CAD Radial Technique FAQ
North Central Arkansas Coronary Artery Disease Treatment
For more information regarding the radial technique, contact Cardiovascular
Associates at 870-425-8288.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a condition in which plaques build up
on the walls of the coronary arteries – the vessels that supply
blood to the heart muscle. These plaques can cause a gradual but progressive
narrowing of the artery, or they can suddenly rupture, causing a more
acute obstruction. The CAD radial technique is an effective treatment
that widens the arteries for better blood flow. Learn more about this
procedure from answers to these frequently asked questions.
What is the radial technique?
Typically, for stent placement, the femoral artery in the groin, is the
standard access site. Using the radial approach, an interventional cardiologist
uses the small artery in the wrist as an access site, improving patient
safety and comfort.
Am I a candidate for the radial technique?
Unless they have a poor radial pulse, most patients are potential candidates.
Why does it improve patient safety and satisfaction?
With cardiac catheterization and interventions, regardless of the cause
or the source, bleeding leads to worse patient outcomes. Bleeding has
been shown to be one of the most potent risk factors for adverse outcomes
(e.g. death, recurrent heart attacks, etc), regardless of the technical
success of the procedure itself. As such, there has been an intense focus
in the last decade or so on reducing bleeding complications.
The radial artery is not only a much smaller vessel than the femoral artery
(the standard site of access for cardiac catheterization), but it is in
a place where it can be very easily compressed if bleeding does occur.
If there is a problem with bleeding at this site, even minimal manual
pressure over the artery can quite easily control the problem. Many studies
have now shown that bleeding rates with the radial approach, when compared
to the standard femoral approach, are much lower, leading to improved
short and long term outcomes.
Another benefit of the radial technique is improved patient comfort. After
a femoral catheterization, patients need to lie flat on their back for
3-4 hours after the procedure. With the radial approach, patients can
be up and out of bed in an hour after their procedure.
If it improves patient safety and comfort, why aren’t all stent placements
done using the radial technique?
Presently in the US, less than 10% of all catheterizations are done via
the radial technique. This is primarily a function of currently practicing
cardiologists’ lack of training in the technique. Currently, all
of our practicing cardiologists primarily perform this state-of-the-art
For most of today’s practicing cardiovascular interventionists, adopting
the radial approach means learning a new technique. There is a learning
curve to the radial approach to cardiac catheterization, and most experts
will say that it takes 50-100 cases to become proficient with the technique.
To a busy practicing cardiologist, who is very used to and very comfortable
with today’s standard femoral (groin) technique, this is not an
easy sell. However, the ‘radialist movement’ is gaining traction
in the US, and its numbers are increasing as training programs are now
recognizing its value, while doing a better job teaching the technique
to current cardiology fellows.
Where are stent placements done?
Cardiovascular Associates of North Central Arkansas cardiologists
Dr. Michael Camp,
Dr. Otis Warr,
Dr. John Edavettal, and
Dr. Patrick Tobbia perform this procedure in Baxter Regional Medical Center’s state-of-the-art
cath lab facilities.