Prairie Lakes Healthcare System (PLHS) now offers a new shockwave technology called intravascular lithotripsy or IVL that safely treats problematic calcium buildup in the arteries of the heart that restricts blood flow.
On Wednesday, April 14th, interventional cardiologist, Richard Howard MD, FACC, FSCAI, treated the first Prairie Lakes Healthcare System patient with Shockwave IVL technology. It was used in the Cath Lab during a non-surgical, stent placement procedure to remove severely calcified coronary plaque in the patient’s arteries to help improve blood flow.
The new device uses sonic pressure waves, also known as shockwaves, which pass through soft arterial tissue and preferentially disrupt calcified plaque by creating a series of micro-fractures. After the calcium has been cracked, the artery can be expanded at low pressure and a stent safely implanted to restore adequate blood flow, with minimal trauma to normal arterial tissue.
“The arrival and implementation of this new technology at Prairie Lakes demonstrates our progressive vision to provide high-quality, state-of-the-art care in our region,” said Dr. Howard. “Our cardiology team is committed to providing innovative advancements that are proven to improve patient outcomes.”
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. As people with heart disease grow older and their disease progresses, plaque in the arteries evolves into calcium deposits, which can narrow the artery. Stents are often used to open an artery, and of the approximately one million patients that undergo a stent procedure in the US each year, 30% have problematic calcium that increases their risk for adverse events. 
“It is exciting to be able to offer and use this treatment option for complex calcified lesions at Prairie Lakes Healthcare,” said Leah Le, Cardiology and Cath Lab Director. “The Shockwave Therapy is easy to use and improves the safety of the procedure for the benefit of our patients and allows us to continue to treat these patients right here in Watertown.”
 Généreux P, et al. JACC 2014; 63(18);1845-54