LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. but now doctors at Baptist Health have a new procedure using shockwaves to treat blocked arteries.
It’s a clean bill of health for Larry Hensley as he goes through his regular checkup with Baptist Health Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Thomas Conley.
“This is by far the easiest process I’ve ever gone through,” Hensley said.
Hensley has quite the experience with cardiologists. He first had open heart surgery in 2003, then got a stint in 2007.
“I’d been walking three miles every morning for the last three years,” Hensley said.
But suddenly, he started feeling a little off during those walks.
“I started feeling chest pains going from one shoulder to the other,” Hensley said.
After a few days, he went to the doctor and had some tests run.
“That’s when they found that I had blockage,” Hensley said.
Dr. Conley says that blockage contained a lot of calcium, the same stuff that makes up bones and teeth, which means the typical treatment wouldn’t work.
“The balloons are made out of rubber and so a rubber balloon is not going to fracture a hard calcified blockage,” Dr. Conley said.
So he recommended a new procedure. It’s called Shockwave.
“They’re electrical impulses that go to a balloon that’s inside the artery,” Dr. Conley said. “Those impulses are turned into sonic waves and those sonic waves are emitted out into the wall of the artery and they fracture that calcification.”
Then you can go in with the balloon and put a stint in. For Hensley, he said it worked great.
“Immediately after the procedure I was up and running pretty well,” Hensley said.
For cardiologists like Dr. Conley, he said this new technology will help them treat even more patients than ever before.
“That’s the goal, that’s the goal to make people healthy and get them back as independent as functioning as possible without symptoms,” Dr. Conley said.
The sonic pressure wave treatment is available in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway and Fort Smith.