New same-day angioplasty technique helping patients with clogged arteries

They're clogs that kill. Arteries hardened with plaque can lead to deadly heart attacks.

Every year, one million Americans undergo a potentially life-saving procedure to re-open clogged arteries.

Now, there's a new same day angioplasty technique with some great benefits for patients.

Shooting buckets with his son, Brian Bennett knows the key to a good jumper is all in the wrist. The key to saving his life may have started in his wrist, too.

"I was a walking time bomb," Bennett said. "My Lad, they call it the widow-maker, was 90 percent blocked."

A stress test uncovered coronary heart disease. Several of Bennett's arteries around his heart were clogged with plaque. Doctors performed a coronary angioplasty, inflating tiny balloons in the arteries to break up the blockages. But, instead of the traditional approach of threading a catheter through Bennett's leg to reach those arteries, doctors went through his wrist.

Dr. Adam Greenbaum with the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Henry Ford Hospital explained the technique saying, "Because the artery in your wrist is right on the surface, it's easily visible. It's right next to a bone. You can easily stop any bleeding."

Doctors say bleeding from the leg is a risk after surgery and one of the main reasons angioplasty patients are often kept overnight for observation. When surgeons enter at the wrist, patients need a shorter observation period, making it possible for them to go home the same day.

Bennett was back here just six hours after surgery. "Took my kids to school the next day, went to a wedding a day later, back to work on Monday," Bennett said.

It's a new approach to helping hearts that's put Bennett right back in the game.

Doctors say with the wrist procedure, patients can sit up to recover.

With an approach through the leg, patients must remain flat during recovery, which can slow recovery time for those with back problems.


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