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What is Radial First Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)?

Author: Richard R. Heuser, M.D., FACC, FACP, FESC, FSCAI

Over the last few years, the field of interventional cardiology has witnessed some amazing new developments. These developments are radically affecting patients’ quality of life, raising the bar for health care everywhere.

One of these developments, in particular, really excites me. It’s a special outpatient procedure known as “Radial First same-day Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI).” The procedure is a new alternative method to traditional angiograms. In order to better answer your questions about this new interventional cardiology procedure, I’ll first explain some terms.

Defining the Terms

  • Radial First describes the method of the procedure. A small, flexible catheter is inserted into the radial artery, which travels through the forearm.
  • Percutaneous simply means “through the skin.”
  • Coronary Intervention (also known as a coronary angiogram or cardiac catheterization) refers to the type of procedure. In this procedure, which is used to evaluate the health of the heart, a catheter is threaded through the blood vessels until it reaches the heart. A special contrast dye is then injected through the catheter. X-ray imaging picks up on the contrast dye and reveals arterial blockages.

How long will I be hospitalized for a Radial First PCI procedure?

One of the major benefits of this procedure is that it is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients are mobile almost immediately following the procedure and can go home just a few hours later.

 How many surgeons perform this kind of percutaneous coronary intervention?

Very few. Currently, this technology is in great demand but low supply. Only about 2 percent of interventional cardiologists offer Radial First PCI.

Besides going home soon, what are the patient benefits of Radial First?

Radial First offers an 80 percent reduction in patient bleeding (compared to the femoral approach). Plus, early research has found a significant reduction in major adverse cardiac events for up to one year after surgery.

Where can I have a Radial First PCI in Arizona?

St. Luke’s Medical Center pioneered Arizona’s first Radial First program. I’m proud to be associated with a hospital that is leading the way in interventional cardiology.

For more information about Radial First PCI, you can call Phoenix Heart Center at 602-234-0004. This procedure is performed at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Tempe, AZ.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.



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