Mimi Murphy's Medical Breakthroughs: Eat Away Clogged Arteries

By: Mimi Murphy
By: Mimi Murphy

More than 13 million Americans have coronary artery disease, making it the most common form of heart disease. Patients often go through numerous surgeries to re-open the arteries clogged with plaque. Now a new treatment makes opening the arteries a little easier.

"A blue marlin. It weighed 172 pounds. That was the feat of my lifetime," says Margaret Rogers. But heart disease nearly kept her from living to see that day. She says, "I've had two open-heart surgeries, I've had a pacemaker, and several angioplasties."

After a serious bout of chest pain, Rogers just had yet another angioplasty procedure.

"The process of angioplasty is to open up or clear out an artery from inside without actually opening up the patient," interventional cardiologist Robert Strumpf, M.D., of Arizona Heart Institute in Phoenix, tells Ivanhoe.

A new type of catheter now makes the procedure better for patients with totally blocked arteries.

"It's specially equipped and designed, made very user friendly in a way that is applicable to many more patients than we could treat before," says Dr. Strumpf. "It's a special instrument shaped almost like jaws, and the jaws are inserted into the artery. The jaws open and actually break open the blockage and establish normal blood flow to the artery."

The catheter restores blood flow and relieves chest pain. Typically, the odds are 50-50 that an angioplasty will help.

"Our batting record so far has been about 750, meaning that three-quarters of our patients have benefited from this procedure," says Dr. Strumpf.

It was a home run for Rogers. She says, "They've got this new technique and it works. It's just a miracle, just a miracle. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart -- what's left of it."

The new frontrunner catheter is FDA approved and covered by most insurance companies. The procedure typically lasts 30 minutes to an hour.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Arizona Heart Institute and Hospital
2632 N. 20th St
Phoenix, AZ 85006
(800) 345-4278
http://www.azheart.com


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