Medicated stents helping cardiac patients

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Cardiovascular problems remain at the top of the list for deaths in the United States.  Fortunately, medical technology is improving the treatment options for people with heart issues. Now, medicated stents could be the solution to keeping some patients from undergoing major procedures.

Like most southerners, Richard McDaniel loves the food that gives flavor to this area.  "Cracklins and boudin," two favorites according to Richard.  That's food talk many people can relate to and unfortunately these unhealthy foods can give way to high cholesterol which is a precursor to heart problems, as Richard first experienced eight years ago when he had a heart attack.

"I had two stents put in one artery and that worked well for about six months," says Richard, "then they plugged up."  Richard then received a short burst of radiation, called brachytherapy, to keep his arteries from clogging again. This gave him a clean bill of health until last October.

"I came back, we did a stress test and found out which ones were blocked," says Richard.  This time, cardiologist Christopher Thompson, M.D., gave Richard a new type of medicated stent, which prevents restinosis - or the narrowing of a blood vessel after stenting.  "The drug that is on the stents prevents that particular excess healing in keeping the artery open," says Dr. Thompson.

Had these medicated stents not been available, according to Dr. Thompson, the progression of Richard's heart problems could've led to open heart surgery - something that more than half a million Americans have performed each year.  "If we can put stents in people and save them from going into open heart surgery," says Dr. Thompson, "that's a much preferable option at this time - people go home the next day versus staying in the hospital a week and having six weeks of recovery."

Now, Richard says he's glad to be retired and feeling good.  "I try to fish more, I play with all of my grandkids and I like to tailgate at McNeese games and cook!"

But this go-round, Richard's keeping the bad stuff in moderation.

*To get your questions on cardiovascular disease answered, join Dr. Chris Thompson this Thursday, November 12th at 6:00 P.M. in the Shearman Conference Room at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. The seminar is free, but you need to reserve your sear in advance.  Just call 494-2936 to get your seat.

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