Local surgeon performs innovative heart surgery technique

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Updated: 2/07/2014 5:38 pm
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- In honor of Go Red Day and February being American Heart Month, we met with a local cardiologist who is using a unique tool to make an impact on heart hearth.

He didn't invent it, and he wasn't the first to use it. He wasn't even the first to bring it to northern Nevada, but because of his determination to spread its good work, he has become one of its biggest advocates.

Cardiologist Doctor Desai believes going through someone's wrist to get a better at look at their heart is the direction modern medicine needs to go. "Minimally invasive, safer techniques are the wave of the future, as we continue to move forward in health care."

It's called a radial approach to cardiac catheterization. Traditionally, doctors go through the groin, which can be very painful and lead to a series of complications. But going through the wrist cuts the recovery time in half.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell has been a patient of Doctor Desai's. "Means a lot when, you know, I was walking out the door after they did it through my wrist."

Mayor Cashell considers himself living proof of the procedure's magic, and he is now an advocate, too.

At the time Doctor Desai started training in radial practices five to six years ago, he says about 2% of catheterization was being done radially. Hundreds of procedures later, he said, "At this point, I'm doing 99+% of my cases radially."

Now Desai hopes to make Saint Mary's a 100% radial hospital. "We don't want to be just another Department of Cardiology. We want to be a world-leading department in Cardiology."

And Desai does not want to to stop there. Once a month, physicians fly in from all over the country to train and learn from Doctor Desai and the Cardiology Department at Saint Mary's.

"The U.S. is behind the world in adopting the radial approach and we'd like to change that."

One patient at a time.

Saint Mary's also has a radial lounge for patients after the procedure. It's a place where they can sit, relax, look out over the city while being monitored by a nurse, and most importantly, not be bedridden. Their lounge is the first in the state.
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