KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – A doctor in our region was the first in the country to perform a breakthrough medical procedure.
Holston Valley Medical Center and Dr. Chris Metzger, Director of Holston Valley’s Cardiac Catheter Lab, was chosen to perform the first “in man” trial of the procedure because of their proven record of research and excellence in medicine.
“It is an honor to be selected, and it is a testimony to the team that we have here,” Metzger said. “We have research and Cath Lab folks that can work together with our administration and our partnership and that is an honor that we were selected to do that.”
The procedure uses a new medicine to help the body heal itself during the procedure so that a stent is not required.
If you have an angioplasty procedure done, it is because an artery is blocked by a sticky material called plaque. The procedure restores blood flow through the artery.
The doctor threads a thin tube through a blood vessel in the arm or groin up to the involved site in the artery. The tube has a tiny balloon on the end.
When the tube is in place, the doctor inflates the balloon to push the plaque outward against the wall of the artery. This widens the artery and restores blood flow.
When a doctor does an angioplasty, the collagen that keeps the artery in tacked is weakened.
Doctors usually have to leave a stent or medicine that can stay in the body. The medicine helps the collagen re-link but the process can take a while.
The new procedure uses a new medicine that is activated by a light within the balloon that activates the medicine to help the body start using its own natural healing process while the procedure is happing.
Metzger said, “We do something called an intravascular ultrasound where we look inside of the artery with an ultrasound camera and that really shows whether there’s a dissection or tear. The medicine had already healed the artery by the end of the procedure.”
By doing this nothing is left in the body after the procedure.
Only 15 patients in three hospitals within the nation were chosen to try this new procedure.
Metzger said, “Not only were we the first of 15, and one of the only three centers, this is the first time this procedure has ever been done in a human.”
It will likely be two years before this type of procedure is available to the public.
It will not be implemented until after the trial research studies are completed which could take up to two years.
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