Spinning Needle Touted as Treatment for Severe Angina
WebMD News Archive
Shawl says Ridgeway's internal heart pressure has been reduced, and the
pumping function of his heart has also improved.
Shawl has done nine of the procedures on patients in India since last
August, and he says they are all doing well. One of the big advantages of the
catheter, says Shawl, is that it allows the physician to withdraw tissue that
can be used for a biopsy. That, he says, may help show what actually causes the
improved functioning of the heart.
Alan Wasserman, MD, tells WebMD that even though these procedures do give
patients short-term relief, more study is needed. "Anything that relieves
pain, especially something like this that is relatively safe and relatively
easy to perform, is a good start," says Wasserman, chairman of medicine at
George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
The device is manufactured by AngioTrax Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., a company
in which Shawl holds stock.
- For the past 10 years, physicians have been treating patients with severe
angina by burning holes into the heart with a laser.
- In a new, similar procedure, physicians are using a tiny, spinning needle
to drill holes into the heart.
- It is unknown why these techniques appear to work, but researchers
hypothesize that the tiny holes enhance blood flow to the heart.