LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It came to him in the middle of the night: a different way to open his patients' blocked arteries.
For about 15 years Dr. Steven Feld and other doctors have been performing heart catheterization by inserting a catheter through the femoral artery in the groin.
Physicians started trying to go through the radial artery in the right wrist.
"The problem with going through the right wrist is that the catheters, instead of making a nice 'C,' like we're used to from the leg artery, they make an 'S' to get to the heart arteries and that's very different, very difficult, takes the doctors a lot of learning time and for the patient it translates into more radiation," Feld said.
So Feld came up with a new technique: use the left wrist.
"By going from the left wrist, we carry the same natural 'C"' that we have from the femoral artery," he said. "We can use the same catheters, the same technique."
He wrote a letter to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Interventions detailing the new idea. They published it.
"I absolutely believe that the description that we provided will be adopted by many, many catheterization laboratories," Feld said.
James Conway was born at Memorial Medical Center 67 years ago.
Now after three heart attacks, he's back and happy to be a candidate for the new method.
"Everybody that goes through this and goes through the pain and suffering that they do, to have anything that helps relieve, it's a miracle for us," Conway said.
Feld says the good thing about the new technique is that most patients can recover in a few hours and they don't have to stay overnight.
Going through the wrist means less bleeding and less pain.
Conway's surgery was successful and he is doing well.