Heart saved through the wrist

March 13th, 2011 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Mar 13 (IANS) Paul Hope, who suffered a major heart attack in
mid-February, was administered life-saving angioplasty through an incision in his wrist.

Traditionally the procedure is performed through the femoral artery in the groin, but cardiologists are using the radial artery in the wrist.

Angioplasty involves clearing blocked arteries by inflating a tiny balloon inserted through a tube via a major blood vessel.

Consultant cardiologist Rod Stables of Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, who performed Paul’s procedure, says: “This is the future of angioplasty,” the Daily Mail reports.

“It is safer and more comfortable with the chances of complications much reduced. The patient, in most routine cases, can also go home much sooner,” he adds.

Around 111,000 Britons have heart attacks each year. They tend to occur in those who suffer from coronary heart disease, which is caused by atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of the arteries.

This happens when clumps of cholesterol build up in the artery, reducing or cutting off blood supply to the heart.

Like all muscles, if the heart does not receive a steady flow of oxygen-rich blood the tissue cannot function and in some cases dies, resulting in a heart attack, the report adds.

Last year more than 80,000 British men and women had angioplasties, compared with around 30,000 ten years ago.

According to the report, Rod Stables now performs 95 percent of his angioplasties through the wrist, although nationally 48 percent are carried out this way.

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