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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on January 31, 2022

Patients benefit from new technology at Tidelands Health to treat certain types of heart disease

Patients with certain types of coronary artery disease can benefit from an innovative new treatment now available at Tidelands Health.

The health system’s cardiac specialists are using intravascular lithotripsy to remove calcified coronary plaque deposits, which can reduce blood flow in the heart. The technology is a novel application of the same approach that uses sonic pressure waves to safely break up kidney stones. In patients with heart disease, the sonic pressure waves are used to break up problematic calcium deposits to improve blood flow to the heart and allow for easier insertion of a stent.

Dr. Victor Diaz“Our patients benefit tremendously from this new technology,” said Dr. Victor Diaz, an interventional cardiologist with Tidelands Health Heart and Vascular Specialists. “Even in our most complex cases, the sonic pressure waves are successful at breaking down stubborn calcium, often quicker and better than using just traditional procedures. That means greater success for patients.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and calcium buildup in the arteries can be a common problem. As people with 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. These calcium deposits can create challenges when inserting a stent to open the artery. About 30 percent of patients who undergo a stent procedure have problematic calcium that increases their risk for adverse events.

Calcium deposits make the arteries rigid and more difficult to reopen with conventional treatments. Intravascular lithotripsy allows physicians to fracture the problematic calcium using sonic pressure waves so that the artery can be safely expanded and blood flow restored with the placement of a stent.

“We’ve already seen very positive results using this technology,” Dr. Diaz said. “It’s exciting to have another tool to help care for our patients and help them get the best outcomes.”


Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 60 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.