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Radial Artery Catheterization

Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas

Radial catheterization involves inserting a catheter through the wrist's radial artery

Heart patients who experience chest pain or an emergent event—such as a heart attack—undergo cardiac catheterization to determine the level of heart damage or disease. The minimally invasive cardiology procedure is also used to open blocked arteries limiting blood flow through the heart and preventing oxygenated blood from traveling properly through the body. Cardiac catheterizations are performed on more than 1 million Americans each year.

Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital proudly offers an innovative cardiac catheterization approach: radial artery catheterization. For many years, the groin's femoral artery was the preferred entry point for cardiac catheterization during minimally invasive cardiology procedures. However, in radial catheterization, the catheter is inserted through the radial artery in the wrist.

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Benefits of radial catheterization


Radial catheterization may offer several advantages, including:

  • Lowered risk of complications due to excessive bleeding
  • Mobility immediately after the procedure (instead of immobility for at least four hours with femoral entry)
  • Less pain
  • Generally faster recovery time and more rapid return to work/life

Radial artery catheterization candidacy

Unfortunately, not all patients are eligible for radial artery catheterization.

To be a candidate, patients must have good blood supply to their hands through both the radial and ulnar arteries in the rare case that the radial artery becomes blocked after the minimally invasive radial artery catheterization procedure. If blood flow through both arteries is good and the radial artery then becomes blocked, the ulnar artery takes over entirely and supplies enough blood to the whole hand.

Learn more about the effectiveness and safety of transradial artery access for cardiac catheterization

A medical illustration of the hand and wrist showing blood flow between the ulnar and radial arteries
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