Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a common medical procedure used to diagnose and treat coronary heart disease (CAD), the leading cause of death in the United States today. Transradial catheterization uses the radial artery in the wrist to gain access to the heart. Traditionally, doctors go through the patient’s femoral artery in the groin.

Benefits of Transradial Catheterization

Dr. Ramzan M. Zakir, Director of Transradial Catheterization at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, pioneered transradial catheterization in Middlesex County and has taught physicians throughout the country this revolutionary technique because of its enhanced safety, patient comfort and improved outcomes compared to the traditional femoral approach.

  • Lower risk of bleeding and complications at the incision site
  • Less pain – traditionally, catheterization patients must endure up to eight hours of painful, manual compression at the incision site to avoid bleeding, whereas transradial catheterization patients wear a simple wrist compression device. (see picture)
  • Patient can move almost immediately after the procedure – A femoral procedure requires patients to lie flat for hours. Transradial patients do not have to lie flat and can recover in an armchair.
  • Patients can also move around, walk to the bathroom, etc. soon after the procedure.
  • Patients can go home sooner – In many cases, transradial procedures make it possible for patients to go home the same day of their angioplasty.
  • Patients who present with heart attacks actually have improved survival and shorter hospital stay.
Why Isn’t Transradial Catheterization more commonly performed in the United States?

This is a common question and one that is difficult to answer. Some doctors have either never trained to do the procedure, or are reluctant to change their established practice. If transradial cardiac catheterization is safer for the patient and associated with fewer complications, physicians at the Heart and Vascular Institute of Central Jersey believe it should be an option for every patient if appropriate.

Are you a candidate for transradial catheterization?

Dr. Ramzan M. Zakir feels most patients who undergo cardiac catheterization are candidates for a transradial artery procedure. Dr. Zakir has performed transradial coronary interventions in all settings; complex anatomy, calcified lesions, heart attacks and total occlusions.

Chronic Total Occlusion

n many patients with coronary artery disease, the plaque may be totally blocking the artery making it difficult to treat with stents and patients are often referred for bypass surgery. However with advanced technology and techniques, these blockages can be opened with stents in many cases. Dr. Zakir is at the forefront in treating these chronic total occlusions (CTO) and has had tremendous success.


n patients with coronary artery disease the plaque may contain heavy calcium buildup. This makes it difficult to treat with traditional balloons and stents. Many physicians refer these patients for bypass surgery. However, a procedure called atherectomy can be used to break up the calcium to allow for stent placement. Dr. Zakir has tremendous experience with atherectomy and was the first operator in New Jersey to become certified to use orbital atherectomy to treat these challenging calcified lesions and hosts training programs for other physicians to learn.