Baton Rouge General doctor using sonic waves to treat blocked arteries

Baton Rouge General doctor using sonic waves to treat blocked arteries

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A doctor at Baton Rouge General has become one of the first doctors in the area to use sonic pressure waves to treat blocked arteries in the legs, according to a news release from the hospital.

A technology that historically been used to dissolve kidney stones, called Lithotripsy, can now be used to help people with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) when it is combined with a technology called Lithoplasty.

Experts with Baton Rouge General say the Lithoplasty System from Shockwave Medical is a new therapy designed "specifically to treat leg artery blockages found in PAD patients."

PAD blocks blood flow to the legs and feet, causing significant pain, limited mobility and can potentially lead to surgery or even amputation in severe cases. Caused by the buildup of plaque and calcium within the walls of arteries, PAD occurs primarily in the legs but can be found in vessels throughout the body.

The common treatment for PAD is balloon angioplasty, which involves inflating a balloon in the narrowing of the artery and expanding the artery to alleviate the blockage. Many patients do not respond well to angioplasty alone, with failure rates as high as 50 percent – often due to hardened calcium within the wall of the artery.

"Peripheral Artery Disease is painful and often life-altering, and we're thrilled to bring patients in the Baton Rouge area a more effective solution," said Dr. Joseph Griffin, who is one of the first doctors in the Baton Rouge-area to use the new treatment. "Hardened calcium is common but can be challenging to treat, and Lithoplasty offers a much-needed option with potentially less risk of damage or injury to the vessel."

Shockwave Medical's Lithoplasty® System integrates angioplasty balloon catheter devices with the calcium-disrupting power of sonic pressure waves, known as lithotripsy. Each Lithoplasty catheter incorporates multiple lithotripsy emitters activated with the touch of a button after the integrated balloon is inflated.

Once activated, these emitters produce therapeutic sonic pressure waves that are inherently tissue-selective, passing through the balloon and soft vascular tissue, preferentially disrupting the calcified plaque inside the vessel wall by creating a series of micro-fractures. When the calcium has been modified, the vessel can be dilated using low pressures, thereby enabling even historically challenging PAD patients to be treated effectively with minimal injury to the vessel.

For more information about the treatment visit the Vascular Specialty Center's website at or call 225-399-4472.

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