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Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville Offers First-of-its-Kind Treatment for Heart Disease 

Hospital now using shockwaves to treat calcified coronary plaque

MADISONVILLE, KY (Feb. 23, 2022) – Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville recently added a new treatment option for patients living with severely calcified coronary artery disease. The new procedure uses shockwave technology to safely break up arterial calcification, or calcium deposits within arteries that restrict blood flow to the heart and are known to accelerate heart disease – which remains the leading cause of death in America.

The device that makes this novel process possible is the Shockwave Medical Peripheral Intravascular Lithotripsy (IVL) System, which received FDA approval in 2021 and was acquired by Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville later that year. 

The adoption of the new technology and procedure not only demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to furthering best practice operations in the industry, but also optimizes outcomes for its patients by reducing the complications and cost escalation that come with sending cases to open procedure or, more often, another outside facility. 

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 can increase their risk for adverse events. Studies show patients in the service area surrounding Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville are even more prone to this build-up of calcium due to the high levels of limestone in the water.   

The 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.

“Shockwave therapy is a game changer for us when we treat coronary or peripheral artery disease,” says Dr. Marty Denny, one of the first physicians to perform the IVL procedure at Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville.

It allows us to modify the calcified plaque to the point that we can insert stents in vessels that were previously difficult to stent and would many times be the reason the patient would need bypass surgery.”

For important safety information regarding this new treatment, please visit or talk with your Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville cardiologist.
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