Carondelet Health Network has been instrumental in making an internationally leading surgical procedure called transradial cardiac catheterization available in Southern Arizona. The nonsurgical technique is used in angioplasty procedures called percutaneous coronary interventions to unblock clogged arteries. Candidates for this procedure often have had a heart attack, have heart disease, or experience unstable angina, a type of chest discomfort caused by poor blood flow to the heart. Today, nearly three years after Carondelet started offering the procedure, the healthcare system proudly announces nearly all 200+ patients who have received a transradial cardiac catheterization at one of its hospitals have experienced procedural success with a near zero percent complication rate.

Before this procedure was available, a patient’s principle option was standard catheterization. This is when a physician inserts a tube called a catheter into the patient’s femoral artery near the groin. This site remains dominant among U.S. physicians despite increased rates of complications, such as major bleeding. The transradial approach can successfully unblock arteries using a catheter inserted into the patient’s wrist instead.

Benefits of transradial cardiac catheterization to patients:

• Equally successful to femoral (groin) catheterization
• Less procedure-related bleeding, lower risk of complications 
• More comfort – allowing patient to immediately sit upright 
• Same-day discharge for low-risk patients – as opposed to an overnight stay
• Freckle-sized scarring
• Procedure is much less expensive

“Transradial cardiac catheterization has enjoyed much success in Europe since the early 1990s. Although this approach has steadily increased in Europe and Asia, adoption in the United States has been slow. Of the nearly 600,000 procedures performed in the U.S. in 2010, less than 2 percent were performed with this approach. Carondelet has been very instrumental in bringing this state-of-the-art procedure to Tucson,” says Joseph Chambers, MD, FACC, FCCP, FSCAI, an interventional cardiologist at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson. “There are relatively few physicians in Southern Arizona who perform elective transradial cardiac procedures. There are even fewer who opt for this approach emergently. Cardiologists who perform angiograms with this technique do them almost exclusively because this procedure offers the same results as standard femoral approach catheterization with two significant advantages to patients—cost and comfort.”

Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute has cardiologists who perform transradial cardiac catheterizations at both Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital and Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital.

About Carondelet Health Network Located in Tucson, Arizona, Carondelet Health Network is a Catholic, nonprofit healthcare system dedicated to responding to the health, prevention, education, and wellness needs of Southern Arizonans. Carondelet was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet more than 132 years ago. Carondelet’s Tucson facilities include St. Mary's Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Mary’s Hospital, Carondelet Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales, Arizona. Carondelet’s family of services also include nearly two dozen primary and specialty care offices, an ambulatory surgery center, several imaging centers, Hospice and Palliative Care, and a variety of other outpatient services. Carondelet Health Network is a ministry of Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic, not-for-profit healthcare system. In Fiscal Year 2012, Carondelet provided nearly $66 million in Community Benefit to improve the health of our community and increase access to healthcare. More information about Carondelet Health Network is available at