Shockwave Intravascular Lithoplasty System

What Is the Shockwave IVL System?

Built to treat blockages in the leg caused by calcified (hardened) plaque, the Shockwave Intravascular Lithoplasty (IVL) system delivers sonic pressure waves to restore blood flow to the extremities. The technology is designed to minimize damage to the surrounding soft tissue, reduce complications, and simplify an otherwise complex procedure.

Why You Might Need It

Caused by atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the blood vessels and arteries, peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a painful disease that requires immediate attention. If left untreated, it can lead to damaging complications like non-healing sores on the legs or feet and limb amputation.

In more severe cases of PAD, the plaque buildup is so heavily calcified that certain endovascular (minimally invasive) treatment methods are rendered ineffective. The Shockwave IVL system is a suitable method for these complex and challenging cases.

How It Works

The Shockwave IVL system is comprised of three parts: a generator, a connector cable, and an interventional catheter equipped with lithotripsy (pressure wave) emitters and an inflatable balloon.

During the procedure, your vascular surgeon will first insert the catheter into the damaged vessel or artery and expand the integrated balloon to help facilitate efficient energy transfer. Then, using the generator and connector cable, your surgeon will release an electrical charge through the emitters in the catheter to generate sonic pressure waves. As these waves travel through the tissue, they selectively crack and break up the calcified plaque. After this, the balloon can be inflated again to push out the broken pieces of calcified plaque and maximize space, allowing for more efficient blood flow.

Similar lithotripsy technology is used to help break up kidney stones so that the body can pass them more easily.

The Benefits of the Shockwave IVL System

The Shockwave IVL system is a game-changer for the treatment of PAD, particularly in cases with extreme calcified blockages. It allows for low pressure, controlled expansion of the blocked vessel or artery, which reduces the likelihood of tissue tearing. This then minimizes the need for stenting (the placement of permanent mesh tubing to support narrow or weak arteries). HSDr. Christopher J. LeSar Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon Vascular Institute of Chattanooga expert opinion on shockWAVE intravascular lithoplasty system

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