Unique channeling device used to relieve severe chest pain and treat heart disease tested at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical center

January 18, 2000

Today, Fred May, a 67-year old Evansville, Ind. man, is among the first patients in the United States to receive a unique, non-surgical treatment for severe coronary artery heart disease at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago.

The catheterization procedure, called percutaneous myocardial channeling (PMC) seeks to stimulate blood flow in the heart to relieve pain from angina by creating channels in the inner wall of the heart. These channels, it is thought, promote the growth of new blood vessels (a process known as angiogenesis) to improve blood supply to heart tissues in need of nourishment. Dr. Gary L. Schaer, director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at the Rush Heart Institute and interventional cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Snell, will perform the procedure as part of a Phase I clinical trial to determine the safety of this new procedure. Rush is one of only five medical centers in the U.S. and the only Chicago area medical center participating in the trial. May is the fourth patient treated in the clinical trial at Rush. As part of this Phase I study, Rush will treat six patients.

Myocardial channeling, developed by AngioTrax of Sunnyvale, Calif., involves threading a catheter with a rotating surgical blade attached at the end through the patient's femoral artery. While guided by an angiographic mapping technique, the cardiologist uses the device to create 15 to 20 channels in the heart muscle. The entire procedure takes approximately 90 minutes, can be done under local anesthesia, and does not involve surgery. Most patients will go home the next day and some may eventually be discharged the day of the procedure, according to Schaer. This contrasts with a four to five day hospital stay for surgery.

Rush has developed special expertise in treating end-stage coronary artery disease. In 1995, Rush was one of the only Chicago-based medical centers to participate in a clinical trial on transmyocardial revascularization. In 1999, Rush was among the handful of elite medical centers to begin using gene therapy injections for heart disease.

"If successful, myocardial channeling will add to our repertoire of therapies we can offer patients who are suffering from severe chest pain," said Dr. Schaer. An added benefit of AngioTrax device is that the cardiologist can preserve samples of the heart tissue for further study. Each year, approximately 80,000 Americans develop severe coronary artery disease that cannot be treated by conventional techniques, including bypass surgery or angioplasty. More than 7 million suffer from chest pain due to coronary artery disease.
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Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center includes the 809-bed Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital; 154-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center for the Elderly; Rush University (Rush Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences and Graduate College); and seven Rush Institutes providing diagnosis, treatment and research into leading health problems. The medical center is the tertiary hub of the Rush System for Health, a comprehensive healthcare system capable of serving about three million people through its outpatient facilities and eight member hospitals.

Rush University Medical Center

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