MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute Transforms Patient Experience | MedStar Health

MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute Transforms Patient Experience

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BALTIMORE—(October 9, 2017) — In the newly opened radial lounge at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, John Lurz is sitting comfortably in a chair with his wife, eating a sandwich and fresh fruit, holding a book in his lap. Wearing khakis and a button down shirt, a small wrist band is the only hint that an hour earlier, John underwent a procedure that opened a potentially lethal coronary blockage.

The scene underscores MedStar Union Memorial’s leadership in interventional cardiology, and its progressive shift toward safer and more comfortable cardiac catheterizations. To be specific, accessing the coronary arteries through the wrist, known as the transradial approach, rather than the traditional access through the femoral artery in the groin, virtually eliminates the risk of major bleeding.

This transradial approach to cardiac catheterization was first performed at MedStar Union Memorial in 2010 when the chief of it’s catheterization lab, Dr. John Wang, became the first physician in the state to widely adopt this advanced technique. Since then, nearly 90-percent of the hospital’s cardiac catheterization procedures are done transradially, a rate that leads the Mid-Atlantic region and is more than twice as high as the national average.

The radial lounge is a stark contrast to what currently exists in traditional cardiac catheterization recovery units, where patients must lie flat for up to six hours.  In addition, walking or sitting up to eat, are prohibited because of the risks associated with the standard approach to catheterization procedures. 

“I think the radial lounge will change the way patients see their care,” said Dr. Wang. “We can do the most complex procedures radially, and the patients can be in a comfortable and relaxing space, with their family or friends, and have an infinitely better experience with peace of mind knowing our outcomes are stellar.”

An angiogram performed in the Medstar Union Memorial cath lab revealed a blockage in the main blood vessel that feeds the front of John Lurz’s heart. The critical blockage is known as the ‘widowmaker’- so named because of its predictive implications. Dr. Wang inserted a tiny catheter through John’s wrist, to access the blockage, and placed a mesh stent to clear the blockage.

“An hour later,” said Lurz, “my wife helped me get dressed and we were able to pick something to eat from right there in the lounge. Being in the lounge was very positive. My wife and I sat in front of a coffee table with comfortable chairs and the food was delicious. I didn’t feel like I was a patient.  Being in the lounge really de-stressed the entire experience for me.”

For more information about the transradial lounge at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, go to:

About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit

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Debra Schindler

Regional Director, Media & Public Relations, MedStar Health Baltimore


Carrie Wells

Public Relations Specialist, MedStar Health Baltimore


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