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Published on January 02, 2014

Procedure Performed Through the Wrist Meant Faster Recovery

John BartosJohn Bartos of Midland had two cardiac catheterization procedures almost a decade apart. Both cleared blocked arteries and re-established good blood flow to his heart, but other than that, Bartos said the two procedures were “as different as night and day.”

“The one in 2004 worked and I was grateful to have it,” he said. “But now that first procedure seems like the old Model A Ford I had in high school that got me successfully from point A to point B,” he said. “The second one, in February of 2013, was like being in the space age. I told my wife it was like a dream.”

The difference in the two surgeries was the place where the catheter, a small plastic tube, was inserted to provide access to Bartos’s blocked arteries. The first procedure used his femoral artery, which is in the groin. For the second procedure, Interventional Cardiologist Andrzej Boguszewski, M.D., was able to use Bartos’s radial artery, located in the wrist.

Radial catheterization is made possible by today’s smaller and easier-to-use catheters and surgical instruments. With the radial artery near the skin’s surface, there was less bleeding and bruising, and Bartos recovered faster. Radial approach catheterization also potentially has fewer complications.

“The first surgery cleared two arteries that were both 100 percent blocked,” he said. “The good thing is, it worked. Once the stents were in, it looked like there was a river flowing through there. But I’ll never, never forget what happened after the surgery; I had to lay flat on my back with sandbags on me for 19 hours, and my legs were painful and purple with bruising for weeks.”

“The second surgery was absolutely no comparison. Dr. Boguszewski cleared two arteries, one 80 percent and one 90 percent blocked. I could get up and walk. There was just a little bandage on my wrist. I went home the next day with no pain and 40 percent more energy. It was like a miracle. The whole experience was absolutely unbelievable.”

Having good blood flow to his heart means the retired local businessman can pursue his active life as a community volunteer and enjoy living on the homestead farm where he was born.

“I just had my six-month checkup and I’m doing fine,” Bartos said. “While I’m alive, I’m going to do what I want to do. When I die, I want to be moving, not sitting in a chair.” In addition to staying active, he gets regular exercise and watches his diet. “My wife is extremely helpful with that,” he said. “I’m eating more veggies and veggie soup.”

Bartos praised the doctors and staff who cared for him at the Medical Center, and remarked on how great it was having a procedure like radial approach cardiac catheterization available close to home.

“You’d expect this kind of care at the Mayo Clinic, but we have it right here in Midland,” he said. “The technology and skill levels are top-notch. The hospital is very well managed, and there’s a remarkable level of community support. It’s all helped create an amazing level of care.”

MidMichigan Health offers a full array of heart and vascular services, including open heart surgery, vascular surgery, electrophysiology for heart rhythm problems and advanced interventional procedures. Those who would like additional information on Dr. Boguszewski and other members of MidMichigan’s comprehensive cardiovascular team may visit our cardiovascular services page.