What is Radial Angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a medical procedure done when you have coronary artery disease. A sticky deposit due to high cholesterol blocks the arteries so the blood flow is compromised. Angioplasty restores the blood flow in your heart.
How is it done?
• A long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the vein or artery in the wrist and into the heart
• You will be given anaesthesia around the punctured site so you would not feel a thing
• A balloon is attached at the end of the catheter to open the blocked arteries
• Sometimes, a small metal mesh-like device called stent is put inside to support the blood vessels
• Direct pressure is applied to the incision to stop the blood flow
• The wound is bandaged
When do you need it?
• Angina - Chest pain due to reduced blood flow to the heart
• Myocardial infarction or heart attack - Chest pain due to blocked blood flow to the heart
• Atherosclerosis - Increased accumulation of fat and cholesterol in arterial walls
• High cholesterol - Increased low-density lipoprotein cause high cholesterol in the blood
Who can have it?
Patients with the good blood supply in both their hands through radial and ulnar arteries are eligible for radial angioplasty.
After the procedure, the radial artery may become blocked. If the ulnar artery has good blood flow, there will not be any problem.
Some tips after your angioplasty:
• The patients can start walking right away after the sedatives wear off
• Be careful about the punctured area
• Rest your forearm on a pillow
• Do not bend your wrist for 8 hours after the procedure
• Refrain from using your wrist for a day
• Do not lift heavy weights for at least 2 days
• Remove the bandage on the second day to fasten the healing process
• If you feel the punctured site beating or it starts to bleed, call your doctor immediately
• Do not forget to follow up after 1 month
Radial angioplasty helps the patients to recover faster than those who do femoral angioplasty (the catheter is put through the groin area). Thus, doctors usually recommend the former if the necessary conditions are met.