inthrop's Divisions of Cardiology and Radiation Oncology have teamed up to fight heart disease with a new procedure that helps patients experiencing a recurrence of arterial blockages after stent placement. Called Intravascular Brachytherapy, Winthrop is one of only a few Hospitals in the region with the special expertise to perform the technique that delivers a dose of radiation to the stent implantation site during cardiac catheterization or angioplasty.
According to Kevin Marzo, MD, Chief of Cardiology at Winthrop, "Winthrop was the first Hospital on Long Island to acquire the new Guidant Galileo III system, the most advanced cardiac radiation technology currently available, providing a much more user-friendly way of delivering intercoronary radiation."
Placing stents into blocked arteries during angioplasty has become a highly effective way to keep blood vessels open, preventing further heart damage and potential heart attacks. But, even with implanted stents, approximately 20 percent of patients experience restenosis or the re-narrowing of the artery due to scar tissue that grows around the stent and re-blocks the artery. Restenosis usually occurs three to six months after the initial angioplasty and stent placement.
"Intravascular brachytherapy greatly reduces the risk of restenosis," explained Jonathan Haas, MD, faculty attending physician at Winthrop." Prior to this procedure, only angioplasty was performed for in-stent restenosis, which resulted in a higher risk of another blockage in the future. Patients who receive brachytherapy after restenosis occurs have a less than 20 percent chance of experiencing another blockage in the artery."
Jonathan Haas, MD (left) confers with Jinchu Huang, Ph.D., Winthrop's Director of Radiation Oncology Physics about the Galileo III machine.|
Intravascular brachytherapy is performed through a centering or balloon catheter usually inserted through the groin area. Once in place inside of the blocked artery, the radiation source travels through the balloon, creating an equal distribution of radiation that breaks up the scar tissue and prevents further scarring to occur around the stent. Winthrop's technology is the most precise because the deliverance of the radiation is automatically calculated and positioned by the Galileo III machine.
"Before this procedure, patients required bypass surgery to re-open their arteries. Intravascular brachytherapy is a proven, non-surgical and safe procedure which is quickly becoming the treatment of choice for patients with a renarrowing of stents."
"Now that the procedure is being performed at Winthrop, patients have expressed their satisfaction not only with the technique but also with the fact that they can remain with their physician in a hospital they are comfortable with instead of having to go elsewhere," added Dr. Haas.
For more information on Intravascular Brachytherapy, call Winthrop's Institute for Heart Care at 1-800-443-2788.