Innovative cardiac procedure improves comfort for Sunshine Coast patients

Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital has started using an alternate route to reach blood vessels during cardiac stenting and diagnostic angiography, which investigates abnormalities in the heart.

Clinical and interventional cardiologist Dr Stuart Butterly has completed the hospital’s first cases using distal radial artery access, which is done through a small incision at the base of the thumb.

“We use ultrasound to see the distal radial artery which is very small. Then under the guidance of ultrasound, we are able to put a needle in to the artery, which makes way for the catheter to the heart,” Dr Butterly said.

Traditionally, doctors gain access through the femoral artery in the groin or the radial artery at the wrist, but this involves a higher risk of bleeding and less patient comfort.
Some doctors in Europe and Russia have been using this technique for 15 years, but it has only become more widely popular in the past 18 months.

“International cardiologists have started to gain more of an acceptance doing angiography this way and wanting to do it this way – it is a better way,” Dr Butterly said.
Dr Butterly has successfully completed 22 cases using the distal radial artery access at Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital.
Dr Butterly decided to become trained in the procedure to help reduce the risk of bleeding and improve the comfort level for patients.

“This technique has been well-received by patients who have previously had angiograms and stents via the traditional access routes. It also provides much quicker patient recovery and easier management of post-procedure bleeding,” said Dr Butterly.
The Sunshine Coast interventional cardiologist was trained to use the technique in Sydney and is one of only a few cardiologists in Australia who is qualified in doing the procedure.