By John Ostapkovich

LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) – St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne is the first hospital in the region to conduct clinical testing of a device to whirl out calcified plaque in coronary arteries.

The study, called Orbit II, uses a device similar to one already approved for use in the fight against peripheral arterial disease in legs. Interventional cardiologist Rakesh Shah says the Diamondback 360° Coronary System is worked through the blood vessels in preparation for insertion of a stent.

However, Shah says, “When you have a calcified area, that may prevent the stent from expanding adequately, so this trial of this device actually is designed to ablate away some of the calcium that’s in the plaque and therefore achieve reasonable stent expansion.”

So, a burr on the end of the device becomes a blur, “The burr has micro-particles of diamond bits on them and as we’re spinning it about 80,000 to 120,000 RPM it’s slowly sanding away the plague or the calcium alone and it tries to leave the healthy vessel or healthy tissue alone.”

Dr. Shah has treated a handful of patients so far in this study with no problems, and expects physicians will refer other suitable candidates.

For more information, contact the study coordinator, Marci Campbell: 215-710-4586.

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