Research and education have played a major role in the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute's growth and progress. In fact, one of the few privately funded cardiovascular research programs in the nation is part of the Heart & Vascular Institute. It gives qualifying patients access to cardiovascular clinical trials that are available at few other places in the country.
Physicians such as Mark Reisman, M.D., have helped raise the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute's research program to greater national and international prominence through research and day-to-day interaction with patients and peers. Dr. Reisman, along with other experts on the cardiovascular research team, was involved with 45 active investigational protocols in the past year, and saw the commercial realization of some of the devices they helped investigate.
Types of research
One of the pioneering techniques Dr. Reisman helped investigate was brachytherapy and its role in preventing the clogging of coronary stents with scar tissue. In this technique, tiny radioactive particles are inserted through a catheter to the blockage site, left in place for a few minutes and then removed.
As a rule, heart patients who develop scar-tissue blockages in their stents require repeat procedures to keep their coronary arteries open. Brachytherapy is the first technology to break that cycle. In fact, because of the important role Dr. Reisman played in the clinical trials, he was the first interventional cardiologist in the country to use the brachytherapy device (Beta-Cath System) after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in early December 2000.
Swedish Cardiovascular Research is currently investigating numerous exciting technologies for opening arteries and keeping them open, such as stents coated with drugs/ as well as new drug-delivery systems. At the same time, there is a strong focus on research into preventing strokes and cerebrovascular disease.
Currently, there are two major thrusts in the Heart & Vascular Institute's vascular-research efforts. Swedish cardiologists are identifying new territories for nonsurgical treatment, with carotid stenting as one example. Vascular research also involves evaluating the use of other cutting-edge cardiac technologies for applications in vascular systems outside the heart. Examples include:
- Coated stents
- Covered stents
- Embolic protection devices, to capture blood clots that develop in a small percentage of patients
- New medicines being developed for peripheral-vascular patients
- Techniques such as noninvasive imaging and biochemical testing, to identify patients at high risk for vascular disease
Our physicians are also at the forefront of their fields when it comes to advanced training and education.
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