When a doctor mentions “plaque,” most people think of their teeth. But plaque can also build up inside a person’s blood vessels — where it can be deadly. A new procedure to remove arterial plaque cells using lasers is being tested at the Iowa Heart Center in Des Moines.Dr. Magdi Ghali is the cardiologist leading the study that involves 19 other research facilities, all in other states. Dr. Ghali says the patient takes a drug which only works when exposed to an intense, bright light.The procedure is called photoangioplasty. Ghali says the laser light is pinpointed inside a patient’s arteries using a tiny thread of fiber optic cable.He says the combination of the drug “antrin” and the laser light kills plaque cells but leaves the surrounding artery tissue untouched.
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