HOUSTON (July 19, 2011)

In the United States, a heart attack occurs every 20 seconds. Death resulting from heart attack occurs almost every minute. That is why perfecting methods of care is vital to the survival and recovery of heart attack patients. At Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, a growing number of patients are opting for a new, safer procedure that opens blockages in the heart - the radial angioplasty.

When physicians need to clear a blockage or place a stent in the coronary artery, they typically thread a catheter through the femoral artery, which is located in the groin. While the standard of care, this approach has limitations. The femoral artery can be hard to find, internal bleeding as a result of the procedure may be difficult to spot and stop, and nerve damage can occur. Additionally, following a procedure via the femoral artery, patients are required to lay still and flat on their back for hours to achieve hemostasis. Although this approach is more commonly used across the country, the new radial technique has many advantages.

"Patients are now requesting the radial method because they've heard the approach reduces complications and recovery time," said Amit Manhas, MD, a cardiologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City who is trained in both angioplasty approaches - through the groin and wrist. "They are right. The advantages of going through the wrist include patient safety, with less bleeding complications, hematomas and possible nerve trauma, as well as patient comfort, allowing patients to sit up, stand and walk immediately after the procedure."

For more information on the radial angioplasty, call (713) 222-CARE or visit www.memorialhermann.org.