Credit: Free Malaysia Today

The intravascular lithotripsy treatment uses sonic waves to clear clogged vessels.

Editor’s Note: In an earlier of this story it was implied that intravascular lithotripsy was a safer alternative to angioplasty and stenting. IJN has clarified that the use of intravascular lithotripsy is actually part of the process in performing coronary angioplasty rather than an alternative. FMT have since amended the article accordingly.

PETALING JAYA: The National Heart Institute (IJN) has introduced a new method using sound waves to clear clogged arteries.

IJN says it is used as part of the process in performing coronary angioplasty and stenting.

IJN said it had successfully treated a patient today using the new method, known as intravascular lithotripsy, to treat those suffering from severe atherosclerosis, a condition where deposits of plaque on artery walls narrows the arteries and limits blood flow.

The method uses a catheter with a balloon attached, from which sonic pressure waves emanate, breaking down hard calcified plaque accumulated in the arteries.

IJN senior consultant cardiologist Dr Amin Ariff Nuruddin said that in the past doctors have had to surgically remove hardened plaque or even perform a graft bypass to ensure good blood flow.

The new method offers “a minimally-invasive treatment option that lessens the risks of surgery for these patients”, he said.

It also reduces trauma to the tissue and reduces the risk of complications.

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