CHEYENNE (WNE) — On March 14, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center became the first hospital in Wyoming to use Shockwave technology to safely open a patient’s coronary artery that was blocked due to a buildup of calcified plaque.
“Shockwave technology allows cardiologists to fracture problematic calcium using sonic pressure waves so that the artery can be expanded and a stent placed to safely restore blood flow to the heart,” Dr. Abdur Khan, the Cheyenne Regional Medical Group interventional cardiologist who performed the procedure, said in a news release.
The new technology is a novel application of lithotripsy, an approach that uses sonic pressure waves to safely break up kidney stones.
Khan also used the new technology on a second patient who underwent a cardiac catheterization Monday afternoon.
As people with heart disease age and their disease progresses, plaque in the arteries hardens into calcium deposits that can narrow the arteries. Calcium makes an artery rigid and often difficult to reopen with conventional treatments. This includes the use of balloons, which attempt to crack the calcium when inflated to high pressure, and atherectomy, which drills through the calcium to reopen the artery.
“Shockwave technology is considered a safer option than more conventional treatments since it creates sonic pressure waves that pass through soft arterial tissue and disrupt calcified plaque by creating a series of micro-fractures,” Dr. Khan said. “After the calcium has been cracked, the artery can be expanded at low pressure and a stent safely implanted to improve blood flow, with minimal trauma to normal arterial tissue.”