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First in North Carolina – WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians Perform Innovative Shockwave Therapy Treatment for Complex Coronary Artery Disease

Minimally-invasive IntraVascular Lithotripsy Procedure Breaks Up Calcium in Blocked Arteries for Stent Placement in High-Risk Patients  

For high-risk patients with complex coronary artery disease, treatment options are often limited. That’s because undergoing surgery for many patients with a variety of health complications simply isn’t an option – the risk of complications is just too high. Fortunately, minimally-invasive techniques continue to evolve, allowing cardiologists to help restore quality of life for many chronically-ill patients suffering from coronary artery disease.

IntraVascular Lithotripsy (Shockwave) Therapy

In March, WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians interventional cardiologists Drs. Frances Wood and Saroj Neupane performed the first case in North Carolina to use IntraVascular Lithotripsy (Shockwave) therapy. This new treatment delivers sonic pressure waves to crack calcium in blocked coronary arteries, allowing for full expansion of the stent for better outcomes. This type of procedure has been highly effective for breaking-up kidney stones for decades but is new to the cardiology field.

Impella LVAD and ROTAPRO

During WakeMed’s first case, the shockwave therapy was used in conjunction with a percutaneous left ventricular assist device (Impella LVAD) and rotational atherectomy (ROTAPRO) – which allowed the intervention team to help a 58-year-old dialysis patient who was too high-risk for open heart surgery. These treatments will support the patients’ heart pump function following a recent heart attack – providing greater recovery and long-term quality of life.

Complex Higher-Risk & Indicated Patients (CHIP) and Chronic Total Occlusions (CTO) Program at WakeMed

These complex procedures are part of WakeMed’s Complex Higher-Risk & Indicated Patients (CHIP) and Chronic Total Occlusions (CTO) program – which uses highly-advanced techniques to help high-risk patients who need revascularization (the process of unblocking blood vessels to restore bloodflow to the heart).

WakeMed’s CHIP/CTO program is the foremost program in North Carolina, led by physicians with advanced training in complex coronary interventions. “This case highlights WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians’ multidisciplinary approach to treating patients with highly complex disease using the most advanced percutaneous coronary care techniques available in the region,” explains Dr. Frances Wood, director of WakeMed Heart & Vascular’s Structural Heart program.

“Helping patients get back to their lives by improving symptoms and quality of life is so rewarding,” explains Dr. Saroj Neupane. “Many of these patients have been seen by other cardiologists and told that medical therapy is their only option. We are pleased to offer a wide range of complex interventions that can allow patients to improve their overall health and feel better.”