If you are experiencing symptoms of heart failure, there’s a good
chance we can diagnose your condition without surgery or painful procedures. The
Wake Forest Heart & Vascular Center is one of approximately 10 percent of
medical centers nationwide that uses radial catheterization. Radial
catheterization is a minimally invasive technique that helps doctors access
your heart through a tiny incision in your wrist.
Radial Catheterization at Wake Heart & Vascular Center
Radial catheterization has become our preferred approach for
cardiac catheterization. In fact, we perform 70
percent of catheterization procedures through the radial artery, totaling more
than 2,000 procedures each year.
Our use of radial catheterization is part of our commitment to
offering the most advanced diagnostic services for heart and vascular disease.
All of our interventional cardiologists are experienced in this approach and use
it whenever possible.
Radial catheterization is a technique to help diagnose certain
heart conditions such as:
Benefits of Radial Artery Catheterization
This technique involves threading a thin, spaghetti-like tube (catheter)
through the radial artery in your wrist all the way up to your heart. Benefits
of the radial approach include:
- Increased comfort that comes from using a
small incision point
- Less bruising and bleeding
- Fewer complications
- Faster overall recovery
Generally, patients with a good blood supply to their hands can
receive the radial approach. If you are very thin or have small or twisted
arteries in your wrist, we’ll need to use a different approach, such as the
artery in your groin. Our specialists always have your health and best outcome
Radial Artery Catheterization: What to Expect
Before radial catheterization, you will receive medication through
an IV that may make you sleepy, but you’ll be awake for the procedure. We will
also give you medication to numb the skin on your wrist skin where we insert
the catheter. You may feel some pressure, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
After the area is numb, we’ll pass a thin, flexible tube through the artery to
When the catheter reaches your heart, your doctor can:
- Collect blood samples
- Measure blood flow in the arteries of your
- Measure blood pressure in the arteries of
- Get a tissue sample (biopsy)
- Check the oxygen levels in your heart
- Look for heart defects and heart valve
After your procedure, we’ll place a band similar to a wristwatch
around your wrist to apply pressure and prevent bleeding. Most patients are
able to get up almost immediately after this test.
an appointment online. Or, for more
information, please call:
- 336-716-WAKE or