NEW: Wrist option offers faster recovery, less pain for OU Medical Ctr. patients

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A cutting-edge heart surgery is promising to bring a faster recovery to patients at OU Medical Center.

Unlike the traditional procedure, doctors get where they need to go by entering the patient's wrist, as opposed to their leg.

Doctors often do cardiac catheterization, or stent procedures, through a patient's femoral artery in their groin.

However, a wrist, or radial, artery option is not only just as effective, it comes with a faster recovery time for patients.

Patients like Sean Danaher are put under mild sedation and are able to communicate with doctors as they enter the heart through a vein in the arm.

To begin the radial cardiac catheterization procedure, doctors put a tiny tube through an artery in the wrist.

It travels to a patient's heart where doctors can check for and open blockages.

Weeks after the procedure, Sean and her doctor are talking about the cutting-edge procedure.

Dr. Beau Hawkins, with OU Physicians, said, "We can also open blockages and put stents in place to restore normal blood flow to the heart. We can do all those things just like we would do through the groin artery."

Doctors say it's a good option for patients who are on blood thinners or who are obese.

Dr. Hawkins said, "So, very obese patients, often times it's difficult to locate exactly where the artery is in the groin. That can make access very, very difficult."

With the radial procedure, patients are able to get up and move around soon after the operation.

During procedures done through the artery in the groin area, patients are forced to stay down with almost no movement for several hours to ensure there is no bleeding.

Dr. Hawkins said, "When you remove the tube after a procedure is complete, we are able to apply light pressure to this area to prevent bleeding."

Danaher previously had this type of procedure done through the femoral artery in her groin area and says she prefers the wrist procedure.

Danaher said, "It's so much more comfortable and faster. I would recommend it to anybody."

Doctors say patients with complex blockages or patients who are considered in shock are not good candidates for this type of procedure.

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