Your Health: Treating Calcified Arteries
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Heart disease can be linked to nearly 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States.
The most common type of heart disease comes from plaque build-up in the arteries. For some high risk patients that plaque is difficult to treat, but could now become much easier thanks to a new device.
Doctors say patients that may have once required open heart surgery can now enjoy less invasive treatment.
71-year-old Jimmy Wells went to the doctor after he says he felt a fluttering in his chest.
"When I'd try to work I'd wear out pretty quick, I'd run out of steam," Wells says. The Cedar Key resident is a self-proclaimed Jack Of All Trades.
"I got an old saying," Wells says, "somebody asked me 'What do I do?' I said, 'I can fix anything but a broken heart.'"
Which is exactly why he came to Dr. Arthur Lee, an interventional cardiologist with The Cardiac and Vascular Institute whose patients often undergo surgery at North Florida Regional Medical Center. Lee discovered calcified lesions in Wells' arteries blocking blood flow by as much as 80 percent.
"There's a tendency for the plaque to form calcium," Lee says, "So there are actually cells within the plaque that think they're in a bone, they form calcium and it becomes a cast of calcium within the artery."
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