Magnetic System Navigates Difficult Blood Vessels

Could be used in angioplasty operations, researchers say

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MONDAY, Nov. 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A new magnetic system that's able to navigate difficult blood vessels shows promise for use during percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) such as angioplasty in patients with cardiovascular disease.

That's the conclusion of a study presented Monday at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in New Orleans.

"The computer-controlled magnetic system is useful to steer guide wires and navigate turns in tortuous coronary arteries that would otherwise be impossible to negotiate," study co-author Dr. Neal S. Kleiman said in a prepared statement. He is director of cardiac catheterization laboratories at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center and an associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

The study found a high success rate among 26 patients who underwent 31 magnetic-assisted interventions (MAIs).

The system, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003, has two magnets that generate a magnetic field over the heart and a magnet-tipped coronary guide wire. The external magnetic field is used to help direct the magnet-tipped guide wire.

This magnetic navigation system has the potential to enable doctors to perform coronary interventions more rapidly than when using conventional guide wire techniques, Kleiman said.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about cardiac catheterization.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 7, 2004

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