Cheyenne Regional Medical Center became the first hospital in the state last week to use new Shockwave technology to open a patient’s blocked coronary artery, according to a statement from the center.
The patient’s artery was blocked with calcified plaque. The new technology fractured the calcium with sonic pressure waves, according to Dr. Abdur Khan, who performed the procedure. These waves expanded the artery so he could place a stent and restore blood flow to the patient’s heart.
Plaque hardens into calcium deposits that can narrow arteries as people with heart disease age and their disease progresses.
That calcium makes arteries rigid. Sometimes they can be difficult to reopen with conventional treatments. Those treatments include cracking the calcium with a balloon inflated to high pressure and drilling through the calcium to reopen the artery.
Shockwave technology is safer because the sonic pressure waves are gentler on soft arterial tissue. The sonic waves expand the artery at low pressure after the calcium is cracked so that a stent can be placed with minimal trauma.
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Dr. Khan used the new technology on a second patient later that afternoon.
Both patients responded well to the treatment and went home the next day.
Doctors in Europe have widely adopted the coronary application of the new therapy. It has been used in the U.S. since 2021.