Area hospitals have adopted newly approved methods for
diagnosing heart attacks and treating blocked arteries without
Southwest Medical Center's Chest Pain Center had adopted a
test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detect
heart attacks. The test measures a heart-specific protein,
troponin T, which is released into the blood at even low levels
of heart damage due to heart attack or myocardial infarction.
National studies report more than 4 million patients with
chest pains are evaluated at hospitals each year. With this
test, Southwest hopes to reduce the estimated 34,000 patients
annually released from emergency rooms with an undetected heart
"Troponin T is specific to the heart muscle and this new test
is very sensitive to even low levels which are released into the
blood in the event of an MI," said Dr. Dave Stanley, a Southwest
pathologist. "We hope to build clinicians' confidence in our own
tests rather than just published data alone."
The method for treating blocked arteries without surgery is
being practiced at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences
Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The treatment uses a new device, the Palmaz-Schatz Coronary
Artery Stent, which was approved by the FDA in August. It was
designed as a complementary alternative to bypass surgery and
The device consists of a regular angioplasty balloon
surrounded by a small stainless steel covering. It is threaded
via catheter through a patient's artery to the blockage, where
the balloon is inflated and the blood flow re-established. The
balloon is then removed, leaving behind the steel "stent" which
acts as a scaffold to support the artery wall.
Officials said about 30 percent of patients under regular
balloon angioplasty will redevelop blockages in the artery within
six months, while a small number of others will experience a
collapse of the artery during the angioplasty procedure,
requiring emergency bypass surgery.
"This new device improved the odds of avoiding these
complications, by as much as 25 to 30 percent in the case of late
vessel re-narrowing," said Dr. Aaron Kugelmass, OU assistant
professor of medicine.
Because the stent is composed of stainless steel, it can only
be used in medium to large arteries, and patients are required to
be on blood thinner medication for four to six weeks afterward. .
Dr. Mark Allen Everett, chairman of the OU College of Medicine's
Department of Dermatology, has been elected president of the
American Board of Dermatology. He is also vice-chairman of the
Committee for Dermatolopathology. …