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Angioplasty via wrist artery safe, effective

October 01, 2011

U.S. doctors are turning to the radial artery for angioplasty.

Following any artery back to its source brings you to the heart. Doctors have used that truism since the early 1980s to gain entry to the heart without cutting open the chest. The large, easily accessed femoral artery in the groin has long been the on-ramp for procedures such as angiography (a special x-ray of the coronary arteries) and artery-opening angioplasty. Now, some doctors in the United States are choosing a new point of entry — the radial artery in the wrist (see illustration). This approach could be a good option for some of the millions of people who have these cardiac procedures each year.

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