Using Sonic Pressure Waves to Break Up Calcium Deposits

Palmdale Regional Medical Center now offers intravascular lithotripsy (IVL), a first-of-its-kind treatment option for advanced heart disease. IVL is a new technology which enables physicians to break up problematic calcium deposits in arteries using sonic pressure waves. Calcium makes the artery rigid and more difficult to treat with current technologies, and can result in complications for patients who are undergoing stent procedures. Lithotripsy has been used for decades to treat kidney and uteral stones, and now it's available to treat coronary artery calcification.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Each year more than 600,000 people in the U.S. die of the condition, according to the CDC. When people have heart disease, the plaque in their arteries gradually turns into calcium deposits as they get older. This can narrow arteries and can be life-threatening. Stents are often used to open arteries, but having calcium deposits in an artery makes the artery more rigid and can lead to complications for patients who are undergoing stent procedures.

How Intravascular Lithotripsy Works

A surgeon makes a small incision in the patient's arm or leg and guides a catheter to the heart. Emitters at the end of the catheter create sonic pressure waves that fracture the problematic calcium deposits that are restricting blood flow. This makes it easier to safely expand the artery and restore blood flow with the placement of a stent and without unnecessary complications.

Get a Cardiology Referral

If you need a referral to a physician at Palmdale Regional Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 1-800-851-9780 or search for a cardiologist online.