Transradial catheterization--when a clinician inserts a long thin tube through the radial artery in the arm--is commonly used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions. A recent analysis of published studies indicates that the procedure can have a significant detrimental effect on cells in the radial artery, which persists for at least several months post-catheterization. The analysis if published in the Journal of Cardiac Surgery.
The findings point to the need for caution when accessing the radial artery during coronary catheterization in patients. Also, novel techniques to minimize local arterial injury during radial catheterization and preserve blood vessel health should be explored.