Trials begin in Singapore this month on a new balloon device developed in Germany to unclog the arteries of heart patients and keep them clear during the critical months after surgery, a published report said.
The balloon has shown promise in preventing the arteries from filling with scar tissue in the aftermath of an operation.
During the trial, the National Heart Centre will use the new balloon in 30 patients to prevent heart attacks, The Straits Times reported.
The procedure involves inserting the tiny balloon capable of delivering an anti-clogging drug into a blocked artery. Doctors will no longer need to implant a thin tube of wire mesh coated with the drug, known as a drug-eluting stent.
A study carried out on 114 patients in Europe showed that 15 percent of them had their arteries re-narrow six month after undergoing angioplasty with the new balloon, said Dr Martin Unverdorben, its developer.
Previous studies have shown the renarrowing rate of drug-eluting stents to be about 30 per cent and 50 per cent for bare metal stents.
For the new balloon "to have such significantly lower rates, there must be something there," Unverdorben said.
The new balloon appears to be less likely to cause patients to develop blood clots, a potentially fatal complication linked to drug-coated stents. – (Sapa)
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