A new radiation treatment intended to prevent coronary artery re-stenosis (re-blockage of the arteries by plaque build up) is now available, thanks to the cooperative efforts of Radiation Oncology and the Maine Heart Center at Maine Medical Center.
The irradiation of coronary arteries is referred to as Intravascular Brachytherapy (IVB). IVB is performed immediately after balloon angioplasty to prevent coronary artery re-stenosis.
During the procedure, which is performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory, the arterial system is entered through the groin and a catheter is threaded through the artery to the blockage. An angioplasty balloon is used to open up the blocked artery. A radioactive source (containing Strontium-90) is then sent through the catheter to cover the previously blocked area of the artery. The source is left in place for less than 5 minutes, depending upon the length of the blockage, exposing the cells in the artery to the radiation.
Following the procedure the patient receives routine care and will follow-up with their cardiologists. Because patients are not radioactive after this procedure there is no risk to their family or friends. Patients receive an identification card stating the dose and location of the radiation they have received.
For more information please call Dr. John Mullen or Dr. Celeine Godin at (207) 662-2276.