Sharjah: Patients who are suffering from severely clogged arteries now have a minimally invasive option to clear the vital blood pathways as opposed to traditional open heart bypass surgery.
Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah has introduced the BridgePoint chronic total occlusion system for treatment of clogged arteries which prevent blood circulation to the heart.
The Bridge Point chronic system, introduced in coordination with Boston Scientific, is considered a first of its kind in the Middle East, Dr Arif Al Nooryani, CEO and head of the cardiology department at Al Qasimi Hospital, told Gulf News.
The new technology offers a minimally invasive alternative to patients who are considered too risky for bypass operations and others whose surgically repaired arteries have reclogged.
It also reduces risks to patients and will help dramatically improve recovery times. Dr Al Nooryani said
The BridgePoint technology is the only US FDA-approved system of this type currently available, he said.
“These blockages can now be treated with angioplasty and stents through a catheter procedure, meaning we don’t need to cut through the chest to perform bypass surgery,” he said.
Boston Scientific will establish a training centre in Al Qasimi Hospital to prepare staff to carry out such kinds of medical procedures.
Four patients — two men and two women — ages between 50-60 have received the BridgePoint treatment so far.
The operations were performed under the supervision of Dr Jasems Christopher Sirat and Dr Al Nooryani.
Dr Al Nooryani explained how the procedure works.
“Its devices create a pathway through which doctors can use angioplasty and stents. They work fairly simply. The doctor rotates the Bridge Point catheter, which has a blunt tip at the end of a grooved metal cord that looks like a miniature plumber’s snake, as the doctor reaches the blockage,” he said.
The Bridge Point can go right through the occlusion if the blockage is still relatively soft. If the blockage is hard, the Bridge Point goes around the blockage by moving up into the second layer of the artery while not perforating the blood vessel.
Arteries have three layers: the main channel, a second layer and a tough outer layer.
The success rate for BridgePoint’s devices is about 90 per cent, Dr Al Nooryani said.
The operation takes around two to three hours maximum, Dr Al Nooryani said.
The new Bridge Point surgery cost is around Dh40,000.
Introducing the Bridge Point system at Al Qasimi Hospital, Dr Al Nooryani said, will meet the needs of more patients in the UAE. He added that patients from neighbouring countries had also called Al Qasimi Hospital to be put on the waiting list for the new Bridge Point technology.