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Hackensack Meridian Cardiologists Using Shockwave to Improve Heart Disease Treatment

CardiologyHackensack University Medical CenterJersey Shore University Medical Center

What You Need to Know

Cardiologists at Hackensack University Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center are now using Intravascular Lithotripsy (IVL) to treat atherosclerosis. IVL uses sonic pressure waves to create a series of microfractures to break up calcium in blood vessels that support the heart.

It’s based on the same technology that has been used for decades to safely break up kidney stones. It is done minimally invasively under local anesthesia, and in conjunction with angioplasty and stenting. First, the physician introduces a catheter to the heart through a small incision in the patient’s arm or leg. Then, IVL emits pressure waves to break up the calcium deposits.

For many years, physicians have had two ways to open narrow, hardened arteries supplying blood to the heart: angioplasty or atherectomy. These methods, however, are not ideal for some patients if the plaque is too hard and can’t move back against the arterial wall then the balloon used during angioplasty can’t expand properly, and the blockage remains.  

“One big advantage of the shockwave is that you’re not throwing the debris anywhere,” says Dr. Faraz.  After the IVL creates fractures in the calcium, the artery can successfully be expanded at low pressure with the angioplasty balloon, then the stent can be implanted. “This procedure allows us to get the biggest, most appropriate stent placed, that we are able, the first time.  That should help prevent patients from having to come back to the cath lab in the future. It’s really about getting the right result in the right patient the first time,” said cardiologist Daniel Kiss, M.D., Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  

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For information about Hackensack Meridian Health’s cardiovascular services, visit