Over the past 15 years, we have seen tremendous progress in the techniques and treatments available to patients in the cardiac cath lab. Thanks to innovations and technological development, patients that used to require open-heart surgery, or worse, not survived their condition, can now be treated utilizing the minimally invasive techniques available in the cath lab. However, the advancement of these procedures has come at expense of the health and safety of physicians and staff in the cath lab who endure exposure to radiation during each procedure and, as a result, spend long hours wearing heavy lead protective gear.
Radiation safety in the cath lab is an ongoing topic of discussion in interventional cardiology. Recently, Cath Lab Digest editor Dr. Morton Kern published an article examining gaps in current radiation safety practices and initiatives that some of country’s leading hospitals have undertaken to improve radiation safety protocols for the entire cath lab team. Although there are common themes that span all cath labs including use of personal protective equipment such as lead aprons and regular monitoring of dosimeters, practices vary widely and not everyone receives the same radiation safety training across the board.
The good news for patients is that advances in devices and techniques have enabled interventional cardiologists to treat complex cases, once treated primarily through open heart surgery, through minimally invasive procedures, such as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI).In addition to of the increasing volume of complex PCIs, adoption of radial access has increased significantly in the United States.
The Corindus team is back to our office in Waltham after another successful Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) conference under our belt! TCT is one of the most important conferences of the year in Interventional Cardiology and attracted key opinion leaders and physicians from across the world and US specifically.
Twenty-three years after the first coronary stents were placed using the radial artery in the wrist, the procedure has gained widespread use in much of Europe, Japan, India and other non-U.S. countries. In fact, the European Society of Cardiology recently gave their highest recommendation to the radial approach in patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome. They noted that new data shows “the radial approach is superior to the femoral (groin) approach not only in terms of vascular complications and major bleeding events, but also in reducing all-cause mortality.” In addition, studies demonstrate that radial PCIs can significantly reduce hospital stays and associated costs, as patients can return home soon after the procedure.
Patient outcomes are a regular topic among healthcare practitioners. In the field of interventional cardiology, a strong emphasis has been placed on improving patient care by leveraging the latest technologies such as bioresorbable stents, implementing transradial programs to reduce potential complications, and reducing things like contrast usage and radiation dose. Until recently, little attention was paid to the serious risks interventional cardiologists and cath lab personnel face when performing PCI procedures. In the last year, several studies have emerged highlighting the effects and risks of radiation exposure in the cath lab. Here are 5 of the most studied risks: