Calling all medical device people–find less invasive ways to clear arterial plaque

The hearts of cardiac patients who’ve had stenting or angioplasty don’t actually become more efficient at pumping, according to this Reuters article. But the left side of the heart does begin to reduce its size. That’s a good thing because the thickening and enlarging that happens as the heart muscle tries to compensate for clogged arteries can be harmful in itself, according to Swiss researchers writing in the International Journal of Cardiology.

This sounds like one of the few actual improvements heart patients can expect after these types of surgeries. Based on what we’re seeing so far, these surgeries often don’t solve the problem for the long term (see earlier post about other factors that affect expected life span post-operation).

Seems the medical device and drug developer folks have a big assignment here. Just as they came up with a clot-dissolving drug that spares some people who are in the throes of a heart attack, maybe they can develop a less invasive way to clean out blood vessels.

Too bad that, because this is the human body, they can’t just up the active-ingredient-content like extra-strength drain cleaners do…