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OCT - Optical Coherence Tomography - the buzzword in cardiology

The latest in cardiology is OCT, which expands into Optical Coherence Tomography. This breakthrough has made many cardiologists sit up and take notice and is revolutionizing angioplasty. This has been developed by Dr. Brett Bouma an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School who has used optical coherence tomography to gauge stent status.//

This is a new imaging technique similar to ultrasound and will allow cardiologists to view the status of coronary stents used to open clogged arteries during angioplasty. A more glamorous way of putting it would be to say that this was the procedure that the new American Vice President Dick Cheney underwent.

During angioplasty, a tiny balloon is inflated inside a mesh tube placed within a blocked artery, gradually opening the vessel. However in about 30 percent of patients tissue often grows back, either inside or at either end of the stent, a problem known as restenosis.

Stent angioplasty is performed on nearly 500,000 patients each year. Until now, there has been little ability during, or following the procedure, to accurately monitor how the stents were being deployed.

With this new technique now available, interventional cardiologists will find it easier to perform angioplasties in even completely clogged vessels, thereby bringing cheer and hope to millions around the world.


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