A procedure that can help heart patients manage symptoms linked to complications from stents is now being offered at BayCare’s Winter Haven Hospital
, bringing access to this service to the West Central Florida region.
The hospital has begun providing coronary brachytherapy and is the only one within 300 miles to do so.
The next closest facility offering brachytherapy is in Augusta, GA, though brachytherapy is not a new procedure. In fact, brachytherapy used to be widely used as the preferred way to treat restenosis. But over the last few decades, drug-eluding stents were developed and effective in the prevention of problematic scar tissue. Today, restenosis occurs in approximately 10 percent of coronary interventions performed.
“If a patient develops restenosis after a stent placement, they may be treated with another stent,” explains Dr. Zaheed Tai, an interventional cardiologist at Winter Haven Hospital and director of the brachytherapy program. After that, however, “a third layer is often not effective. Brachytherapy is an option that does not require another layer of stent and will hopefully allow patients to go longer without restenosis.”
Primarily an interventional cardiology procedure, brachytherapy treatment is completed in conjunction with specialists more commonly recognized with treating cancer – a radiation oncologist and a radiation physicist. The procedure directs radiation, through a catheter, to the site of restenosis. The radiation specialists ensure safety protocols and dosage accuracy are followed.
In the two months that Winter Haven Hospital has started performing brachytherapy, seven patients have undergone the procedure.
“We at BayCare Winter Haven Hospital are excited to be able to showcase our clinical expertise with this adjuvant therapy,” said Dr. John Davidyock, WHH’s Chief Medical Officer. “It’s impressive to recognize that a radioactive source the size of a grain of rice could yield such remarkable outcomes to potentially reduce further in-stent restenosis and need for bypass surgery.”