"More people are now opting for the new technique - the trans-radial angiogram," says Sanjay Kumar Chugh, a consultant in interventional cardiology with the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre here and a pioneer in the procedure.
In an angiography - the study of heart arteries - miniature tubes are used to reach the arteries from the groin for injecting a dye to make blockages visible.
"Conventionally, this has been done through an artery in the groin - the femoral artery. Newer techniques that are now available include trans-radial and CT (computerised tomography) angiography," Chugh told IANS.
He says the trans-radial method is safer, economical, and a "walk-in, walk-out" outpatient process compared to other procedures.
"In this procedure, an angiogram is performed through the small (radial) artery in the wrist rather than the femoral artery," says Chugh, who has performed 3,500 such cases in India and abroad.
"Patients are able to sit, eat and walk unlike after other procedures done through the groin where bed rest is needed for eight to 12 hours."
Chugh says the trans-radial technique that costs around Rs.15,000 is gaining ground in the country.
He has also pioneered the "left wrist technique" in India, where the angiogram is done on the left wrist, allowing patients to go about their daily chores by using the right hand immediately after the procedure.
More than 50,000 heart surgeries are performed every year in India. According to the World Health Organisation, by 2010, 60 percent of all heart patients will be in India.