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Heart catheterization easier than ever

When Kathy Ramsey learned from Dr. Randall Towne she needed a heart catheterization, she had no idea the traditional approach from the groin is now often available through the wrist. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

When Kathy Ramsey learned from Dr. Randall Towne she needed a heart catheterization, she had no idea the traditional approach from the groin is now often available through the wrist.

"We can access the heart with limited complication, limited bleeding risk, and it facilitates the procedure," said Towne, an interventional cardiologist with Western Carolina Cardiology.

"They kept me very comfortable during the procedure; it was no more than drawing blood," Ramsey recalled.

"Then we advance a wire," Towne said of the procedure. "We get into the heart. We selected the blood vessels -- find out which vessel is sick or occluded -- and if it necessitates the stent, we deploy the stent."

That's exactly what happened to Ramsey to improve blood flow.

"Any difficulty from the site we accessed? " Towne asked her.

"None whatsoever, not even sore," Ramsey replied.

In fact, she walked out after the procedure less than two hours after it started.

Towne says, in the near future, he expects 70 to 80 percent of heart catheterizations at Haywood Regional will be done by radial approach.

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