Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

From the wrist to the heart: A safer route for angioplasty?

November 1, 2021

In the United States, at least half of all artery-opening procedures in the heart now start at the wrist instead of the top of the leg.

To open a narrowed or blocked artery in the heart, a doctor’s first step is to carefully maneuver a slender tube (catheter) through a major blood vessel up to the heart. Traditionally, that vessel has been the femoral artery, the large vessel at the top of the thigh. But increasingly, cardiologists are starting at the radial artery in the wrist instead (see illustration).

Called transradial angioplasty, the wrist approach offers several advantages for patients, says Dr. Ajar Kochar, an interventional cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. "They can sit up right away, which means it’s easier to get up, walk around, and eat soon after the procedure," he says. To cover the tiny incision just under the base of the thumb, all they need is a pressure bracelet around the wrist.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

You might also be interested in…

Managing Your Cholesterol

Managing Your Cholesterol offers up-to-date information to help you or a loved one keep cholesterol in check. The report spells out what are healthy and unhealthy cholesterol levels, and offers specific ways to keep cholesterol in line. It covers cholesterol tests and the genetics of cholesterol. The report also focuses on treatments based on the latest scientific evidence, including the pros and cons of statins and other medications, and provides the lowdown on other substances advertised to lower cholesterol. Managing Your Cholesterol can also help you work with your doctor to individualize your treatment.

Read More

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.