Cardiologists may now be able to delve deeper into previously unreachable blocked arteries, by using a tiny flexible device.
Dr Iain Simpson, a consultant cardiologist at Southampton General Hospital, has become the first doctor in Europe to use a Resolute Integrity Stent System to treat heart disease.
The device has been designed to get to difficult-to-reach vessels. With its ability to assume the shape of an artery, it is more moveable and less rigid than its predecessors.
Dr Simpson said: “The new stent is more flexible for getting around twisty arteries, giving us another option when treating patients with coronary heart disease or those who have suffered a heart attack.”
The procedure of using a stent during angioplasty, known as primary percutaneous coronary intervention (primary PCI), needs arteries to be opened wide enough so that blood can flow permanently in heart attack patients. It is currently considered the best treatment for the condition.
Angioplasty requires cardiologists to blow a balloon into an artery to expand it, and then insert a permanent coil after taking the balloon out.
Previous heart operations required patients to take clot-busting drugs which only worked for about 70% of cases. It also ensured that patients stayed for longer in hospital. However the new PCI procedure, provided by Southampton’s cardiac centre, is available 24 hours a day and requires patients to spend less time hospitalised.
Copyright Press Association 2010