Harvard Heart Letter

Reaching the heart through an artery in the wrist

Artery-opening angioplasty done via the wrist has several advantages over the traditional approach that starts at the top of the thigh. Bleeding complications are less likely, recovery is shorter and easier, and costs are lower. Known as radial artery angioplasty, these procedures account for only about one of five angioplasties done in the United States. But rates vary widely throughout the country and from hospital to hospital within a single city. People slated to have an angioplasty should ask whether a radial approach would be appropriate for them. 
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