Amazing Medicine

Jennielynn Scott, Creswell, Oregon

Radial Access Coronary Procedure

Jennielynn Scott, 53, of Creswell was having severe chest pains. She tolerated the uncomfortable pains for a few weeks before going to the emergency room. Jennielynn’s doctor referred her to cardiologist David Saenger, MD, and while waiting for the appointment in the reception area, Jennielynn felt the familiar chest pains coming back.

“Dr. Saenger watched me go through it and said, ‘Is this what you’ve been dealing with?’” explained Jennielynn. “He admitted me to the hospital right away.”

Dr. Saenger told Jennielynn that she needed an immediate diagnostic heart procedure to find out whether there was a blockage in her heart. “He glanced at my arm and said that I was a good candidate to have the procedure done through my wrist, rather than through the femoral artery in my leg. And he said it would be more comfortable for me,” said Jennielynn.

Physicians at Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute (OHVI) have performed thousands of cardiac procedures over the past decade using an artery in the patient’s wrist, with excellent outcomes. This type of procedure is known as a radial catheter procedure, and patients often prefer it to the traditional method, which involves placing a catheter into the femoral artery in the groin area. Femoral access patients must lie on their backs for several hours, which can be difficult and uncomfortable. Radial patients are able to move around almost immediately.

“A little more than a year ago, only about 3 percent of catheterization procedures nationally were performed radially,” interventional cardiologist Stephen Cook, MD, explained. “That percentage is increasing rapidly as physicians realize that this technique has fewer complications and higher patient satisfaction than traditional femoral access. As other cardiologists start to learn this technique, we at OHVI are ahead of the curve. We’ve been doing this procedure, and doing it well, for many years,” Dr. Cook said.
During Jennielynn’s radial procedure, her cardiologist found a 90 percent blockage in a major artery and called in his colleague, Dr. Cook, to place a stent to restore proper blood flow. Jennielynn says she didn’t feel any pain during the procedure or afterward.

“I felt incredible right away,” she explained. “I could tell a difference almost immediately! I couldn’t believe it.” She was able to go home the next day.

That was in April, and when Jennielynn felt similar chest pains later on in June, she went back to Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute for another stent, which was also placed through an artery in her wrist. Again, Jennielynn felt much better immediately.

“I could sit up and eat, and I was able to walk to the bathroom afterward. My father had a balloon angioplasty the traditional way, through an artery in his groin area, and I remember that he had a much harder recovery,” Jennielynn said.

Now, with both procedures behind her, Jennielynn is back to her active lifestyle. She returned to work at Lane Community College and enjoys spending time with her grandkids.

“Life has improved for me. I’m not nearly as tired as I used to be,” she said.

The cardiac team at Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute has now made the process of undergoing a radial access diagnostic procedure even more comfortable for patients by creating a recovery lounge that features special recliner chairs, television and wireless Internet. For more information, visit the radial cath lab web site.

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