Arm catheter speeds recovery

A new catheter procedure through the arm has patients walking to the recovery room after surgery.

After Kelly Craft, 48, failed a stress test, the next step was to use a catheter to pinpoint any blockages leading to the heart. He was so thrilled with the procedure he said, "If ya'll got any better you could just do a drive by window and do the stint out of the window here at the hospital."

Catheterization has existed for 40 years, said Dr. King White, cardiologist at Christus St. Patrick Hospital. He called the arm catheter an improved version because before surgeons went through the groin. The arm catheter can be completed in about 15 minutes and instead of being wheeled into recovery for several hours, a patient can simply walk out of the operating room.

Dr. White preps the patient for both the arm catheter and groin just in case the arteries in the arm are not usable. Overall he said, "There seems to be fewer complications. There are less bleeding complications."

Dr. White said only about five percent of catheterizations right now in the US go through the arm, but that number is growing.

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