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Through the Wrist to Fix the Heart?

wrist-heart-surgery

It doesn’t take much to amaze me. My 15-month-old can use my iPad. Amazing.

You spend your free time watching Harlem Shake videos (you know you do). Astonishing.

Where I grew up, people randomly burst into flames. Consider my mind blown.

When it comes to medical advances, however, the mind-blowing scale just doesn’t register high enough.

Education and medical research have led to advanced treatment techniques that have saved thousands of lives.

There was a time, in the not too distant past, when heart surgery was merely a mechanism to facilitate a meeting with your maker. It’s not like “surgeons” were attacking patients with hacksaws and a spool of tread but the outcomes were similar.

“Explore."

It’s been said ”necessity is the mother of invention” and that is probably true with heart procedures and surgeries.

I recently read about a pioneer of heart surgery, Dr. Dwight Harken, a young U.S. Army surgeon, who saw plenty of young soldiers die with heart injuries during World War II. Too many young fellas were losing their lives because once the heart was damaged, very little could be done to fix it.  The need to save the lives of soldiers led to the innovation of Dr. Harken. His early, rudimentary surgical approach turned into a refined, life-saving heart surgery. Dr. Harken’s willingness to innovate, laid the foundation for others to continue to develop heart care.

Today, I think Dr. Harken might have a coronary of his own if he could see the available heart treatments. Did you know specialists can use radio frequency to fix an irregular heartbeat? That’s crazy.

You can have your heart valve replaced without surgery. Seriously.

It’s also possible to open a clogged artery by inserting a catheter in the wrist to gain access to the heart. Yep, mind-blowing.

Radial artery catheterization is a  relatively new technique and can be used instead of accessing the more commonly used femoral artery in the leg. The procedure offers benefits for some patients, Dr. Jeff Schussler explains in the video below:

About the author

Chris Callahan
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Chris is the former marketing director at Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital. He is a former television journalist, an Oklahoma Sooners fan and music lover who can no longer imagine life without Twitter.

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Through the Wrist to Fix the Heart?