Lufkin cardiologists are helping patients with reoccurring blockages in the heart and legs.

Implanting stents to open obstructed blood vessels is an important treatment for patients suffering from Coronary and Peripheral Artery Disease (CAD/PAD). However, restenosis, a return of the blockage, can be very common. Ilyas Khan, M.D., Interventional Cardiologist with the Heart Institute of East Texas, introduced an innovative cardiovascular therapy to resolve this issue when he performed the first laser atherectomy at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial in June 2017.

Laser atherectomy, a vaporizing technology that breaks down stubborn blockages in the blood stream, represents an exciting alternative – one that alters the cycle of re-occlusion and improves clinical outcomes for patients. The FDA-cleared atherectomy technology for the treatment of in-stent restenosis (ISR) has been clinically proven safer and superior in treating peripheral ISR.

“We are constantly seeking new ways to improve the health of our patients by offering new technology that is less invasive, lowers their overall risk, and in most cases, lets them go home from the hospital the very same day as the procedure,” Dr. Khan said. “The new laser atherectomy procedure does all of that, and we are excited to use this technology more often in the future.”

More than 115,000 people in the United States suffer from ISR each year. When arteries become blocked due to disease, implanting stents is a common method to restore blood flow. But, within a year of stenting, ISR, or a return of blockage, occurs to some extent in 40% to 60% of cases.

“By launching our laser atherectomy program, we advance our commitment to delivering unprecedented cardiovascular care by arming physicians with innovations that improve outcomes for patients and save lives and limbs from the threat of amputation,” said CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Market COO Shawn Barnett.

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