Forrest General Offers New Treatment Option for Heart Disease

Adam Harless, MD, interventional cardiologist, right, performs a procedure in one of Forrest General’s cath labs.

Hospital now using shockwaves to treat calcified coronary plaque

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (July 14, 2021) Forrest General has announced a new treatment option for patients with severely calcified coronary artery disease. The new technology is a novel application of lithotripsy, an approach that uses sonic pressure waves to safely break up kidney stones. It is now available to treat problematic calcium in the coronary arteries that can reduce blood flow in the heart.

“The cardiology team at Forrest General is steadfast in our commitment to give our patients access to the latest cardiovascular innovations to treat heart disease,” said Adam Harless, MD, cardiologist. “It is exciting to be starting a new chapter in the treatment of heart disease in some of our most complex patient cases, especially one that improves the safety of the procedure for the benefit of the Pine Belt community and all of South Mississippi.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Each year, more than 600,000 people in the United States die of heart disease. As people with heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease, grow older and their disease progresses, plaque in the arteries evolves into calcium deposits, which can narrow the artery. Physicians often use stents to open an artery, and of the approximately one million patients that undergo a stent procedure each year, 30 percent have problematic calcium that increases their risk for adverse events.

Calcium makes the artery rigid and more difficult to reopen with conventional treatments, including balloons, which attempt to crack the calcium when inflated to high pressure, and atherectomy, which drills through the calcium to open the artery. While atherectomy has been available for several decades, its use remains low, as it can result in complications for patients who are undergoing stent procedures. The new shockwave technology, also known as intravascular lithotripsy or IVL, allows physicians to fracture the problematic calcium – using sonic pressure waves – so that the artery can be safely expanded, and blood flow is restored with the placement of a stent and without unnecessary complications.

Forrest General has recently also been recognized by the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain– MI Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award for 2021. For more information about the award recognition, visit www.forresthealth.org/cardiacaward2021

About Forrest General’s Cardiac Services
Forrest General’s Heart and Vascular Services delivers expert care from board-certified cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and vascular surgeons. Services range from diagnostic testing, heart surgery and structural heart treatment to interventional cardiology, cardiac rehabilitation and vascular treatment. For more information, visit www.forrestgeneral.com/heart.

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Beth Bunch

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Please submit all media requests via email to beth.bunch@forrestgeneral.com or by phone at 601-288-1303.

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