Innovative approach to Cardiac Catheterization

What are patients are saying

Published 10/6/2020

Heart health isn’t something most 36-year-olds spend a lot of time worrying about; but, when Patrick Gillis lost his younger brother unexpectedly, “my whole family decided to get our hearts checked by a cardiologist. Turns out I needed a cardiac catheterization.” 

A catheterization is a procedure in which a thin tube, or catheter, is placed into a patient’s artery in order to access the heart with therapeutic devices or imaging equipment. “Considering it was my first one, I was very nervous going in,” says Gillis, “but the staff at the Radial Lounge was amazing.”  

The Cardiac Radial Lounge is a modernized recovery suite that acts as a pre- and post-procedural area for elective, outpatient catheterizations. In the past, catheterizations were typically performed through an artery in the leg (femoral access). But for many patients, the procedure can now be performed radially (through the wrist). This allows for more patient comfort, shorter recovery time and less potential for complications like bleeding. Following the procedure, the patient recovers in a comfortable lounge chair and can move about the Lounge, rather than laying down in a bed to recover on a nursing unit. As a result, patients often leave the same day.  

Gillis’s procedure was performed by Michelle Ouellette, MD, FACC, FSCAI, an Interventional Cardiologist at CMC’s New England Heart and Vascular Institute (NEHVI). "Radial (access) was chosen because it’s what we do at NEHVI; it’s state of the art. The greatest risk of cardiac cath before radial (approach) was life-threatening access site bleeding. Radial cath is chosen for most of our patients due to decreased bleeding risk, increased mobility post procedure, faster recovery and improved patient satisfaction.”

During the procedure, Ouellette found Gillis needed a stent in his his right coronary artery which was placed during the cath. She later adjusted his medication.  

Gillis couldn’t have been more pleased, “I usually don’t call after but I felt like I had to let the team know what a great job they did. I was so comfortable through the whole experience. It was so easy. It was comfortable recovering in the Lounge and Dr. Ouellette came in to check on me which was great. After it was done, I felt like I could run laps!”