MedStar Union Memorial Improves Cardiac Catheterization Procedure with New Device | MedStar Health

MedStar Union Memorial Improves Cardiac Catheterization Procedure with New Device

Share this

Makes Procedure More Comfortable, Even Easier to Recover From

BALTIMORE—(November 5, 2018)—MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, part of the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, has become the first hospital in the state of Maryland to use a cardiac catheterization device that allows for a smaller entry into the artery in the wrist, leading to a faster and more comfortable recovery from the common procedure.

MedStar Union Memorial is one of only four hospitals in the country that currently use the device, which received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in June.

The move cements MedStar Union Memorial Hospital’s status as a regional leader in offering transradial cardiac catheterizations, in which the coronary system is accessed through the radial artery in the wrist. The approach is considered the most advanced, but has been slow to be adopted elsewhere because of the additional training surgeons must undergo.

“The bottom line is that with this new device, cardiac catheterization patients will recover even more quickly and be able to go home and relax,” said Dr. John Wang, chief of the cardiac catheterization lab. “We are proud to lead the region in transradial catheterizations that are now done with the most advanced techniques available.”

The new device eliminates the need for a sheath to help guide the catheter into the radial artery, resulting in an access hole in the artery that is 20 percent smaller. Patients will be able to recover and go home even sooner. So far, surgeons at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital have performed several dozen procedures with the new device.

In 2010, Dr. Wang became the first physician in the state to widely adopt the transradial technique. Now, 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. In September 2017, MedStar Union Memorial opened the radial lounge, a relaxing space where patients who have just had the procedure can move around, eat snacks or watch TV for a few hours before going home.

Cardiac catheterizations are used to diagnose and treat blood vessel blockages. Traditionally, surgeons access the cardiac system through the femoral artery in the groin. While patients who have the traditional procedure done must lay flat for hours, transradial catheterization patients can sit up and move around. The transradial approach also minimizes the risk of arterial bleeding.


About MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit, 223-bed acute care teaching hospital with a strong emphasis on cardiac care, orthopaedics and sports medicine. With roots stemming back to 1854, MedStar Union Memorial has provided high quality care for 160 years. As one of the region's top specialty hospitals, MedStar Union Memorial is home to: The Curtis National Hand Center, the largest hand center in the world, focused on the treatment of the hand and upper extremities; MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, a premier cardiovascular program in the mid-Atlantic, aligned with Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program; and MedStar Sports Medicine, which includes the oldest hospital based sports medicine program in Maryland (founded in 1979).  In addition, MedStar Union Memorial offers a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient services including oncology, diabetes and endocrinology, general surgery, thoracic surgery, vascular surgery and palliative care.

MedStar Union Memorial is accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC). It is the first hospital in Baltimore to receive spine certification by TJC, and the first in the state of Maryland to receive advanced certification for palliative care. MedStar Union Memorial is also TJC-certified in hip and knee replacement and has been designated as a Primary Stroke Center and the Hand Trauma Center for Maryland.

MedStar Union Memorial is a proud member of MedStar Health, a non-profit, regional health care system with 10 hospitals and more than 20 other health-related services in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., area.

For more information, visit

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, 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