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Ohio State Clearing Heart Blockages Through The Wrist

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Posted: 10/4/2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While coronary artery stenting through an incision in the upper thigh has been a standard practice to treat blocked heart arteries for many years, very few patients in the U.S. have the procedure performed through a punctured artery in the wrist. Fewer still have it performed as an outpatient procedure.

The Ohio State University Medical Center’s Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital is one of the first in the country to offer a new clinical initiative to carefully selected patients who don’t have any other chronic health problems. This new approach minimizes the risk of complications and allows patients to go home the same day.

“Nearly all patients in this country undergoing coronary stenting have the procedure performed through a punctured artery in the upper thigh,” says Dr. Quinn Capers IV, an interventional cardiologist at Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital. “However, by using the puncture site in the wrist, we dramatically reduce the risk of bleeding and other complications, allowing us to discharge selected, low risk patients the same day.”

This new approach results in quicker recovery time for the patient, less discomfort and less bleeding risk. Patients sit up and can even walk immediately after the procedure, in contrast to bed rest needed after the traditional procedure through the upper thigh.

Coronary stent placement is a method to treat blocked heart arteries, and is an alternative to open heart surgery. A tiny balloon is advanced across the blocked artery, and when the balloon is inflated, it opens the clogged artery. This is usually followed by insertion of a stent, a stainless steel wire mesh tube that remains in the artery and keeps it propped open.

“The prospect of fixing a potentially deadly heart blockage through the wrist, and sending the patient home the same day has the potential to establish a new paradigm in the treatment of heart disease,” adds Capers. “Shorter recovery times and fewer bleeding complications will result in greater comfort and safety for our patients, and while we don’t yet have specific data, we believe it will also significantly reduce costs.”

Nationwide, most patients spend the night in the hospital after this procedure, as a precaution. Approximately 95 percent of patients in the U.S. have this procedure performed through a punctured artery in the upper thigh. Although some European centers perform outpatient coronary stent procedures from the wrist safely and effectively, only a few U.S. centers are doing this routinely.

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Doug Flowers
Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations
(614) 293-3737
Doug.Flowers@osumc.edu