My dad is 90 years old. He has had stents inserted about 3 times. He has another blockage that needs to be opened up. I took him to the local hospital here in Las Vegas. They performed an angiogram and the doctor tried to insert the balloon without success. He said he could only get it in half way because prior operations had left to much tissue in the way. Is there a chance there is a doctor around that has more experience in this procedure. Is there an alternative course of action?
I'm younger than your dad (71), but also had two blockages that couldn't be fixed with stents or the balloon procedure. I had eight previous stents. I asked for a second opinion and a second try, and ended up with radiation burn on my back from the effort to do what simply couldn't be done. I finally relented to have bypass surgery, and got through it fine, but I'm younger than your father, and it's a tough surgery/recovery.
If I were your father and in wonderful physical condition, I'd give heart bypass surgery a go. If I wasn't in too good condition and not exercising daily, I'd opt for drug therapy that would make me comfortable. Hope that helps.
I'm not sure but I think your two cases may be different. I think one is talking about scar tissue and the other plaque?
larryjphotos I believe the Cardiologist is saying that he is unable to get the catheter through previous interventions because of the amount of scar tissue which has formed. With Plaque, there are some very good Cardiologists out there who have developed amazing skills with available tools. They can chip away at the plaque and capture large pieces, like digging a tunnel through the hard layer until they reach softer material. Scar tissue is very different, it's actually a part of the artery lining. I did some research on this a few months back and there are ways around this. However, finding a good cardiologist with the necessary skillset is a different matter. There are a range of new lasers available which can get rid of scar tissue, and they don't need a guide wire, they can be guided from the rear. I think to gain access to such expertise, or equipment, you may need to approach a training/research hospital. I had to do this in 2009 to have my Left artery opened up. Cardiologists in all my local hospitals told me the procedure was far too dangerous and impossible. The imperial college in London found it very easy. Consultants are one thing, but you need to go up a level to the professors and researchers. You could of course opt for bypass surgery, but not everybody has luck with that. I had a triple bypass in 2007 and all the usual promises but it all failed after 3 months. I was shocked to learn that this is not uncommon, some only last a matter of weeks. Of course, there are those who are lucky to have them stay viable for years, but it's a gamble.
If you do find someone with the ability to stent your Fathers blockages, I would ask them if they can use a drug eluting balloon. The drug coated stents don't really apply much drug to the artery lining to stop scar tissue. A drug balloon touches all the artery lining, coating all of it. If you imagine a wire mesh stent expanded, only the wire has the drug. All the spaces between the wire obviously have nothing. Those balloons are quite new and have been having good success across Europe.
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