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Published on April 05, 2011

New Study to Change Cardiology Procedure

Dr. Ghose showing reporter Karey Britt,  compression bracelet used after radial access.

LMH cardiologist Ghose in top 2% nation wide performing radial access coronary angiography

Read the see complete story by Karrey Britt, LJWorld Health reporter.

Dr. Tapas “Joey” Ghose, a Lawrence cardiologist, prefers using an artery in his patients’ arms instead of their legs for heart diagnostic tests and procedures to open clogged arteries.

He’s one of few doctors nationwide who do.

Ghose says it’s better for patients because there are fewer complications and the recovery time is much quicker.

“It’s much more safe,” he said, during an interview in his office at Cardiovascular Specialists of Lawrence.

And a study released today during the American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans backs his claims.

The study looked at 7,000 patients in 32 countries getting an angiogram — a diagnostic test to look for blockages — followed by angioplasty to open any clogs found.

The procedure usually involves poking a tube through a leg artery near the groin up to the heart, inflating a tiny balloon to flatten a blockage in a heart artery and placing a mesh tube called a stent to prop the artery open.

But patients can suffer major bleeding requiring transfusions or surgery, so doctors are turning to an artery in the wrist instead.

The study found fewer complications with the arm method, and at hospitals that employed the arm method more often, deaths, heart attacks and other big problems were lower, too.

It also found survival and success rates were similar.

The arm method is common in Europe, Canada, India and Israel, but fewer than 5 percent of U.S. cases are done this way.

“I think the study is going to be a game-changer,” Ghose said.

The 32-year-old doctor from Topeka received his bachelor’s degree and medical degree from Kansas University. He learned how to use the arm method during a fellowship at Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo.

A few months later, he began practicing in Lawrence and was the only cardiologist to practice the arm method. This year, Ghose estimates, he’s done all but two cases through the arm.

The advantages, he says, are:

  • Fewer complications. In the leg, the artery is much deeper and more difficult to access. The leg process can cause bruising, a blood clot and a leaking hole in the artery among other things.
  • Better recovery. When using the leg, heavy pressure must be applied to the puncture site for about 30 minutes by a health professional, and then the patient must lie flat on his or her back for four to six hours. Patients can’t drive for 24 hours and their physical activity is limited for up to seven days.

When using the arm, a pressure pump is worn around the wrist to stop blood flow. Often, patients can sit up immediately after the procedure, and eat and drink. Once home, the only restriction is not to lift more than 10 pounds with the affected arm.

“For patient comfort, it’s great,” Ghose said.

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