By Kelli Grant
Published: February 8, 2010, 6:11 PM
SIOUX FALLS, SD - February is heart month, a time for men and women to take a good look at their heart health. New technology is making that task even easier. A common procedure that looks for plaque build up in the arteries just got a lot safer and easier on the patient.
Sixty-four-year-old John Delaney took control of his heart health and had a series of tests done at Sanford Health earlier this year.
What doctors found was a high Calcium score, which can put his life at risk.
"With that calcium score like that, they worry about a major artery block some place you know," Delaney said.
Doctors ordered an angiogram, or what's known as the gold standard for finding a blockage in an artery. But instead of going in through an artery deep in the groin, the cardiologist went in through his wrist.
"It's a small artery. The artery is right here. You see it very well if there's a bleeding problem, hemorrhage or hematoma. You see it right away," Sanford Heart Hospital Cardiologist Dr. Tom Stys said.
It's called a wrist angiogram. Dr. Stys says it's much safer this way.
"Complications from groin access still are extremely common and serious," Stys said.
And it's more tolerable for the patient.
"It was 12 minutes. I mean in and out and he said, 'You can go,'" Delaney said.
Going in through an artery in the wrist isn't new, but new equipment designed specifically for small arteries is making the technique more attractive to patients and their doctors.
"Instead of having to lie flat on your back for six hours, or sometime even longer if it's an interventional procedure, essentially you can get up and walk off the table," Stys said.
Delaney was kept for three hours after the procedure just for observation. Luckily, his cardiologist couldn't find a blockage.
"It was nice to know I had six or seven more minutes to live," Delaney said.
Learn more about the technique or angiograms online.
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