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Intravascular Lithotripsy

Intravascular lithotripsy is an innovative technology which allows our cardiologists to safely fracture problematic calcium using sonic pressure waves. This advanced technique expands the artery and restores blood flow by placing a stent without unnecessary complications. Of the approximately one million patients who undergo a stent procedure each year, 30 percent have problematic calcium that increases their risk for adverse events. But the cardiologists at Southeast Georgia Health System minimize this risk by using intravascular lithotripsy.

How does intravascular lithotripsy work?

Sonic pressure waves have been used for decades to safely break up kidney stones and, in 2021, intravascular lithotripsy (IVL) was approved by the FDA to remove problematic calcium in a patient’s coronary arteries. Performed in the cath lab, IVL allows our cardiologists to crack the calcium so that the artery can be safely expanded and a stent implanted to restore blood flow with minimal trauma to normal arterial tissue. In some cases, it can actually eliminate the need for open heart surgery.

Who might benefit from having IVL?

People who suffer from heart disease benefit most from IVL. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. More than 600,000 of those deaths are in the United States. 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. This condition is difficult to treat, but IVL makes the procedure safer and easier than ever before, offering new hope to patients with cardiovascular disease.

Want to learn more about treatment for heart disease?

Learn more about heart disease and the many innovative technologies we offer at Southeast Georgia Health System, including IVL, by calling: