Science-- there's something for everyone

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lacerations during angioplasty

Every once in a while I choose a story for no other reason than that a headline amuses me.  This is one of those occasions.  The title was “Tears during coronary angioplasty: Where are they and how do they affect patient outcomes?”  If you read that the way it was intended, you expected to find out whether a laceration in an artery is a bad thing.  If you’re me, you wondered whether it was the doctor or the patient who was crying.

In reality, Rajesh Pradhan and his colleagues at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital were studying the effects of arterial ripping during angioplasty. Angioplasty is the technique of mechanically widening arteries, often by threading inflatable balloons through the effected area. Sometimes the artery is torn during this process, an event that used to require a quick trip to the operating room for repair.  However, according to the doctors, gashes can often be repaired without further incisions by using stents.  The researchers also figured out which arteries were most likely to dissect in the first place.

All in all, it was good news for people who need angioplasty.  No need for weeping.