Where is the access site for heart catheterization?
Benjamin K. Yang, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Traditionally, doctors have performed heart catheterization through the femoral artery in the right or left groin. A catheter, or straw-like tube, is inserted into this area and threaded up the artery to the heart.

However, more recently, researchers have developed a different access site, which is through the wrist. The advantage of going through the radial artery in the wrist is decreased bleeding complications at the puncture site. The radial artery is only the width of a spaghetti noodle; any bleeding is visible and easily controlled. In contrast, the traditional approach through the groin involves a much larger artery, which is the width of a thumb. If there is any bleeding, it is hidden under deep tissue as well as difficult to control because it's such a large artery.

If the groin is used as an access site, you have to lay flat for four to six hours after the procedure. With the access site at the wrist, you can sit upright. Doctors place a clear plastic band that is inflated with air over the wrist puncture site. This remains on the wrist for three hours.

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Heart Health

Heart Health

Treat your heart right by eating healthy, staying active and managing your stress. Although some heart conditions are heredity, you can reduce your risk by keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels, avoiding to...

bacco products and losing some pounds if you are obese or overweight. A diet high in fiber, veggies and fruits is essential for a healthy heart. Vitamins and supplements, such as fish oil, may help reduce your cholesterol, which if too high can cause blockage in your arteries and lead to a heart attack. If you arteries are blocked, you may need a stent or cardiac angioplasty device to open your blood vessels, which can help prevent a heart attack. Because heart disease is the number one killer of adults in the U.S., taking care of your heart is essential for a long life. If you have a family history of heart disease, it is especially important for you to manage your hearts health.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.