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Great Plains Health performs Nebraska’s first Shockwave IVL procedure

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 6:58 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Great Plains Health is the only hospital in Nebraska to have the Shockwave Coronary Intravascular Lithotripsy (IVL) technology.

This new technology is used before implanting a stent, to open the arteries that supply blood to the heart (coronary arteries) that are narrowed or blocked due to calcification.

An Attwood woman, Pauline Micek, was the first person in Nebraska to undergo this type of procedure.

“Before I had this procedure done, I was sleeping every afternoon. I thought it was a part of my age because that’s all I could do. I truly believe that I would fall asleep and pass away in my chair if I hadn’t got my calcium scoring done. After the procedure, I no longer need to sleep in the afternoon and spend more time with my family,” said Micek.

Micek was an ideal candidate for Shockwave IVL due to her medical history. As people who battle heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease, grow older and their disease progresses, plaque in the arteries evolves into calcium deposits which can narrow the artery.

“I remember hearing them talk in the room and telling me that I would feel a little bit of pressure or vibrations in my heart,” said Micek. “The veins in my heart are small and curved. The Shockwave IVL was able to make the turns in the important areas where my doctor needed.”

Physicians often use stents to open an artery, but there are risks. Of the one million patients that undergo a stent procedure, roughly 30 percent of people suffer from problematic calcium that increases their risks.

“The calcium scoring test gave me a baseline of what is in my heart. That was the most important test I have ever had taken,” said Micek.

Calcium makes arteries more rigid and difficult to reopen with conventional treatments. The new Shockwave IVL allows physicians to fracture the problematic calcium so that the artery can be safely opened. It offers a low-risk option to patients. The Shockwave IVL procedure minimizes trauma, optimizes outcomes, and simplifies procedures.

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