TGH, USF Health treat 1st patient with new intravascular technology

Tampa General Hospital and USF Health’s Interventional Cardiology team used the tiniest of cameras on a patient recently to wind through minuscule blood vessels and determine what blockage existed and where to place stents. It was the first time in the world for a physician’s team to successfully treat a patient with this new technology.

TGH is one of three hospitals to participate in a clinical trial for the new intravascular technology, FDA-cleared Gentuity® HF-OCT Imaging System with the Vis-Rx® Micro-Imaging Catheter. The hospital will use it to treat patients who are candidates for certain interventional procedures. The system uses fiber-optic technology to deliver near-infrared light and receive light reflected from coronary tissue to produce images. The catheter is 60% smaller than anything previously available for this type of procedure.

“It essentially allows us to get to places too narrow or too small,” says Dr. Hiram Bezerra, professor and section chief of interventional cardiology in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and director of the Interventional Cardiology Center within the USF Health/TGH Heart and Vascular Institute.

“It is a micro camera, a much smaller catheter, very complex, super narrow,” Bezerra says. “We rely on this technology to guide us to do the best stenting.”

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as coronary stenting, is a procedure to place a small metal mesh tube that expands inside a coronary artery to prevent the artery from closing again.

“This allows us to place the stent, to tailor the stent to the patient’s anatomy,” Bezerra says. “We can precisely measure the length and diameter of the vessel and also understand if there are features that require modification.” For example, he said, it could show the medical team that plaque needs to be broken up before a stent is placed.

Bezerra says the procedure on patients would be voluntary and since the technology is now commercial, the hospital can offer it to any patient, even those outside of the trial.

For more information, contact USF Health Cardiology and TGH Heart & Vascular Institute.
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Read more articles by Yvette C. Hammett.

Yvette C. Hammett, a native Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida, has spent much of her career as a professional journalist covering business, the environment, and local features throughout the Tampa Bay Area. She is an avid camper and outdoors person who has also been involved in local events for foster children and the elderly.