New findings from a multi-national clinical trial, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) and authored by Royal Brompton Hospital consultant cardiologist, Dr Jonathan Hill, shows that patients with an advanced form of coronary artery disease (CAD) can benefit from a treatment using sonic pressure waves to break up hardened blockages in the heart. Dr Hill was the trial’s co-principal investigator and has trained cardiologists on the innovative procedure across the world.
As people with CAD grow older and their disease progresses, plaque in the heart’s arterial wall can grow into bone-like calcium deposits, which make the artery narrower and rigid. This makes the disease more difficult to treat and can sometimes result in serious complications for patients.
The trial tested innovative technology called Shockwave Intravascular Lithotripsy (IVL) which generates sonic pressure waves – or shockwaves - to fracture these calcium build-ups. The narrowed artery can then be expanded and blood flow can be restored with the placement of a stent, a small tube inserted into a blocked passageway to keep it open.
The Disrupt CAD III trial, facilitated and co-ordinated by Dr Hill, enrolled 384 patients at 47 sites in the United States, France, Germany, and the UK. The trial aims to generate the data needed to obtain approval from the US Food and Drugs Administration to use Shockwave IVL to treat patients in the US.
Royal Brompton’s cardiology team has been pivotal in leading research into this new technology’s effectiveness both in the UK and Europe in recent years, which has led to the technology being trialled for use in the US. Professor Carlo Di Mario, honorary consultant cardiologist, was the co-principle investigator of earlier Disrupt CAD I and II studies that trialled the new Shockwave IVL technology on patients across the UK and Europe. Dr Hill was an investigator on these studies.
Dr Hill said: “I am delighted to have been part of this important global trial. The results of this study show that the procedure is safe and effective for patients with moderate to severe calcification. It will make a huge difference to clinicians’ treatment of CAD. It also has quick recovery times for the patient, which is key.”