LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -A blocked artery in the heart can lead to chest pain and eventually cause a heart attack. A certain procedure allows cardiologists to see exactly how much damage is in the artery.
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure where doctors insert a small catheter into a blood vessel and it's guided to your heart. An angiogram, or an x-ray movie, is taken while dye is injected into your arteries to help identify any trouble areas. In the past, the femoral artery, which is located in the groin, was primarily used for these procedures, but doctors can now enter through the radial artery in the arm.
"Though the radial has been catheterization around for a long time, it really did not gain popularity until we started doing catheterization using a much smaller catheter," said Dr. Bassam Saliba, a cardiologist at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Saliba says these advances have put non-interventional radial catheterization to more use and have opened the door for interventional catheterization where doctors treat heart defects during a radial procedure.
"We have now guiding catheter that are 1.7 mm in diameter, so now we can do safely some stenting from the radial artery," Dr. Saliba explained.
Dr. Saliba says one of the biggest advantages of radial catheterization is a quick recovery.
"It really makes it much easier especially when we do it and the patient does not have any critical blockage. We send them home an hour later, walking, safely walking out of the office or the hospital and then the next day back to full activity," Dr. Saliba said.
But radial angiography is not for everyone. Typically those with smaller arteries, like young women, don't tolerate the procedure as well and the same goes for some heavy smokers. Ultimately, your physician will decide what approach is best for you.
In other Heart Month news, mark your calendar for the healthy heart screenings, which will be held on Feb. 29 and March 1 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The free screening includes an electrocardiogram, heart risk assessment, waist circumference, height, weight and body mass test. For only $20, you can receive lab tests that include your A1C, good, bad and total cholesterol and triglycerides. To make an appointment, call 580-585-5406.