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March 13, 2011

Heart surgery possible via your wrist!

LONDON: Believe it or not, you can now get your heart surgery done through an incision in your wrist -- all thanks to British cardiac surgeons who 've embarked on this unique technique to carry out angioplasty! Angioplasty involves clearing blocked arteries in patients, who usually suffer heart attacks, by inflating a tiny balloon inserted through a tube via a major blood vessel.
    
Angioplasty widens the blocked artery, restoring blood flow. And, to retain the improved size, a hollow metal tube or stent is inserted. Traditionally, the surgery is performed via the femoral artery in the groin. But, a team of cardiologists in Britain is now using the radial artery in the wrist to carry out life-saving operations after a major heart attack. "This is the future of angioplasty. It is safer & more comfortable with the chances of complications much reduced. The patient, in most routine cases, can also go home much sooner," said cardiologist Dr Rod Stables of Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital. 

According to the cardiac surgeons, radial angioplasty involves a small incision being made in the wrist under local anaesthetic. Dr Rod Stables, who now performs 95% of his angioplasties through the wrist, said: "Too few cardiologists are trained in this technique. They 've preferred the femoral artery because it provides a larger blood vessel, making it easier to guide their instruments through & some patients require bulkier catheters which can't fit through the radial artery." A 63-year-old patient, Paul Hope, who recently underwent the operation, said it was little more taxing than a visit to the dentist. He said: "It was painless & relaxed. I lay on the operating table & rolled up my sleeve."

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