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Times of India
14 March 2011
London, India

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 have embarked on this unique technique to carry out angioplasty, a media report said on Sunday.

Angioplasty involves clearing blocked arteries in patients, who usually suffer heart attacks, by inflating a tiny balloon inserted through a tube thorough 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 the life–saving operations after a major heart attack.

"This is the future of angioplasty. 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," said cardiologist Dr Rod Stables of the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

According to the cardiac surgeons, radial angioplasty involves a small incision being made in the wrist under local anaesthetic, the Daily Mail reported.

Dr Rod Stables, who now performs 95% of his angioplasties through the wrist, said: "Too few cardiologists are trained in this breakthrough technique."?

"They have preferred the femoral artery because it provides a larger blood vessel, making it easier to guide their instruments through, and some patients require bulkier catheters which can’t fit through the radial artery," Stables explained. A 63–year–old patient, Paul Hope, who recently underwent the heart operation through the wrist, said it was only slightly more taxing than a visit to the dentist.

"It was painless and relaxed. I lay on the operating table and rolled up my sleeve," Hope said.

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