This condition currently afflicts approximately 100,000 Americans per
year -- or 20% of the stented population.
Doctors at Hoag Heart Institute perform brachytherapy by delivering
beta-radiation to the site of the blocked artery using radioactive seeds
positioned via a catheter within the stent.
The low-dose radiation is administered for approximately three to five
minutes and then completely removed, leaving no permanent radioactive
source within the patient. The procedure aims to prevent tissue regrowth
therefore restoring normal blood flow to the artery.
The experience is no different from that of angioplasty. The length of
hospital stay and expected recovery time are the same.
The procedure "gives us another option to clear blockage from the
arteries of certain patients and return normal blood flow to the heart
without surgery," said Richard Haskell, a cardiologist at the institute.
Haskell is one of four physicians certified to perform the procedure at