Medical Moment: New advancements in catheter techniques

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - From heart procedures to treating stroke, more than a million cardiac catheterizations are performed each year.

The minimally invasive procedure can be a lifesaver, but now, new research is giving patients another option.

For years, catheters were inserted through the groin.

“The way we want to think about this is that all roads lead to Rome,” said Karim Al-Azizi, an interventional cardiologist at Baylor Scott & White Health. “The moment you get into the arteries and the blood vessels, you have access to the rest of the body.”

Surgeons are accessing a person’s heart and head through their hands!

“Essentially, there are two areas on the hand that we access the arteries for a heart catheterization,” said Dr. Al-Azizi. “One is the traditional, right here in the wrist. The other that we wanted to test its safety is right here in the hand, and it’s essentially the same artery, but in a different location.”

Dr. Al-Azizi is leading the DIRPA study. It’s the first to compare conventional proximal radial artery access to distal radial artery access.

“With the radial artery, there is also an increased risk of these arteries getting damaged and perhaps closing down over time called radial artery occlusion,” Dr. Al-Azizi. “And so, distal radial has been shown to have lower radial artery occlusion rates.”

Results show the distal radial artery cath was as safe, did not cause more blood loss, and did not impact hand function, ultimately giving cardiologists another option.

The technology platform, Azurion, by Phillips, provides high-quality imaging, achieving excellent visibility at low X-ray dose levels for patients.

This fully digital system uses intravascular venous ultrasound and enables physicians to capture and view detailed images of a patient’s coronary structure to facilitate faster diagnosis and treatment of cardiac disease.

Azurion’s ergonomic design and intuitive user interface optimizes workflow and enables clinicians to perform both routine and complex procedures.

This flexible system can also aid in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of patient conditions and can be used for procedures such as diagnostic catheterizations, stenting, and balloon angioplasty. The benefits of catheter-based interventions include shorter hospital stays, reduced recovery time without the pain of a large incision, and less visible surgical scarring.

These procedures can be performed on both the heart and peripheral blood vessels.