New Surgery Detours Within Clogged Artery Walls

The procedure can restore blood flow when all else fails, study says

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MONDAY, March 28, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- When arteries are too clogged to open using traditional therapies, a detour through the artery wall can be an effective new treatment option, researchers report.

"There is now another option that can be utilized to open chronic total [blockages] that have failed any conventional approach," researcher Dr. Antonio Colombo, director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory, EMO Centro Cuore Columbus in Milan, Italy, said in a prepared statement.

His team's study involved 31 patients with chronic total coronary artery blockages. All of the blockages were more than 3 months old and none could be treated using conventional interventional techniques.

To treat these patients, the researchers used a guidewire with a loop on its tip to open a new channel between layers of the arterial wall. They then implanted a drug-releasing stent to act as scaffolding to hold this new channel open, and to keep the new channel from re-closing.

The researchers then moved the guidewire back through the inner arterial wall at a branch point and reconnected the detour to the main artery. This method, called the STAR technique, successfully restored good blood flow in 97 percent of the patients, the researchers report.

The findings appear in the April issue of the journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.

More information

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has more about coronary arteries.

SOURCE: Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, March 22, 2005

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