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New way to treat heart blocks: Drug eluting balloon

Sunday September 18, 2011 07:11:41 PM, Prathiba Raju, IANS

New Delhi: Drug eluting balloon (DEB) technology is a relatively newer and simpler way to treat heart blockages and experts say it is more effective and cheaper than drug eluting stents (DES).

According to Praveen Chandra, head of interventional cardiology at Medanta Medicity hospital in Gurgaon, the DEB technique is also safer than DES.

"DEB is a relatively new treatment which is effective in treating blockages in blood vessels around the heart. It also proves to be useful in reducing blockages that might occur inside a stent," Chandra said.

A stent is a spring-like structure, usually of metal, that is inserted in a clogged blood vessel to create a passage for the smooth flow of blood.

"DEB is a balloon-like structure that is inserted in the blocked artery and then inflated for 30 seconds to administer an anti-proliferative drug. The balloon is withdrawn as the drug penetrates the artery wall," Chandra explained.

Introducing Biotronik's Pantera Lux Paclitaxel Releasing Balloon (PLPRB), an advanced DEB device at Medanta Medicity, Chandra pointed out that DEB is almost 40 percent cheaper compared to stents.

Unlike the balloon technology, DES carries with it life-threatening medical complications like in-stent blockages that can cause a heart attack and even death.

Elaborating, Ran Kornowski of Israel's Rabin Medical Center, said: "Drug eluting stents increase the risk of blood clotting which increases the blockages in arteries over the metal stents.

"When the blockage occurs, it is life threatening as the patient may suffer a heart attack or even die. In DEB, the balloon releases an anti-proliferative drug and is removed as the drug penetrates the artery wall."

Another problem with DES is patients have to continue with blood thinning medicine after angioplasty using stents to avoid blood clots. With DEB, the patient can even discontinue the medication as they are not using a stent to open up a blood vessel.

"There is an emergent need to address the in-stent restonsis (blockages inside the stent) in our country, with this new (DEB) treatment which is safe and cheap can be easily availed of by the common man," Naresh Trehan, managing director, Medanta Medicity, said.


(Prathiba Raju can be contacted at






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