Sonic wave tech to treat kidney stones now used to break plaque in arteries

Sonic wave tech to treat kidney stones now used to break plaque in arteries

Sonic wave tech to treat kidney stones now used to break plaque in arteries
intravascular lithotripsy

Sonic wave technology is used to treat kidney stones which is currently used to break plaque in arteries

An older and easy technology used to break kidney stones using sonic waves has found its approach into cardiac treatment.

In the last month, several city cardiologists have began using this stone-breaking device to ‘break’ calcium deposits in diseased arteries before fixing a stent. A former cancer patient and a former medical superintendent was one of the primary aged patients to benefit from this new technology, whose main disadvantage at the instant is its high price, adds between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh to the medical invoice.

The former cancer patient was diagnosed at Surana Sethia Hospital in Chembur, and the latter at Holy Spirit Hospital in Andheri.

Doctors said the nature of coronary artery disease is changing with the rising aging population. “There are more and more complex calcified lesions to be tackled by angioplasty, especially if the patient can’t undergo surgery due to health problems,” said Dr Vijay Shah, who operated on the 73-year-old retired head nurse on January 30.

Typically, cardiologists use ‘high pressure balloon’ or ‘cutting balloon’ which has been pushed up via a catheter (inserted in either through the wrist or groin) to break the calcium deposit in a blocked blood vessel. If the Calcicum was thick or deep, these procedures wouldn't help much. Also, there was risk of perforation. Another technology, called rotablator, which actually chips out calcium deposits has a long learning curve.

“This technology uses sound waves to break the calcium just as it is used to break calcified stones of gall bladder and kidney stones,” said by one of the cardiologists operating at Holy Spirit Hospital, Dr Amit Sharma.

The other cardiologist, Dr Brian Pinto, said that the presence of calcium around the arteries has made treating elderly and diabetic patients more complex. “But the intravascular lithotripsy has made angioplasty easier for such patients,” said Dr Pinto, adding that he has used it at the Holy Family Hospital in Bandra for a third patient.

When the retired head nurse started getting chest pain on January 30, she was rushed to Surana Sethia Hospital for an angiography that showed heavily calcified long blockage in one of her arteries. “She was advised a bypass surgery, but she had just undergone multiple surgeries for cancer and hence refused another surgery,” Dr Shah said, attaching that it when they agreed to use the new device. Hospital owner Dr Prince Surana responded by saying: “The new technology made the family very happy, but as it is a new technology it costs a lot of money.” But, he added that if more doctors start using it, the cost could go down.

However, the head of cardiology department at KEM Hospital in Parel Dr Prafulla Kerkar, said: “There has to be a careful selection of patients for this new device.’’ The other doctor said the sonic balloon is large and can not be used for every Indian patient who traditionally have narrow arteries.