Belgian hospital tests new technique for treating coronary artery disease

Belgian hospital tests new technique for treating coronary artery disease
Credit: Belga

The cardiology department of the Citadelle Hospital in Liege used a new technique called “orbital atherectomy” for the first time in December to treat coronary artery disease, it said on Wednesday. A new operation is planned for the end of January.

This technique for treating complex calcified lesions in the arteries that supply the heart with blood and oxygen was used for the first time in Belgium in December 2022 on two patients.

Coronary artery disease, the most common form of heart disease, occurs when the arteries of the heart become narrowed or blocked.

This narrowing is caused by an accumulation of fat and sometimes calcium,” says Dr Pierre-Hugues Leboutte, a cardiologist at the Citadelle Hospital. The operation was a success, he said.

Like using a rotational drill

“The principle is similar to the rotational drill, but the movement is orbital, like a skipping rope. The faster it rotates, the more it will deviate from its axis and the calcium is therefore attacked gradually,” the specialist explained.

“The procedure is quicker, can be used in larger vessels and is accompanied by fewer complications,” he continued. “We are talking about complex lesions for which the other classic techniques are not enough.”

This technique for treating coronary artery disease, the most common cardiovascular ailment in Europe, was validated on 1 December 2022 by the competent Belgian authorities. A new operation is planned for the end of January.

Other teams have expressed an interest in attending future operations to better understand the benefits of orbital coronary atherectomy, the hospital announced.


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