The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved
a radiation therapy system called the Guidant Galileo
that helps prevent the repeated narrowing of coronary
arteries that have already undergone the procedure
of stenting. Dr. Behar and Dr. King are presently
providing this treatment at West Houston Medical Center.
The Galileo system is comprised of three parts: a
centering catheter, a source wire and a source delivery
unit. The centering catheter ensures that radiation
is applied evenly within the artery during treatment.
The devise automatically advances, retracts, stores
and shields the radioactive source wire that provides
the treatment. The source delivery unit automatically
calculates the correct dose of radiation required.
And, the actual radiation dose is confined to the
artery itself with the patient only receiving a minute
amount of radiation.
After proving successful in national clinical trials,
the Guidant Galileo Intravascular Radiotherapy System
was approved by the FDA to treat re-stenosis. Re-stenosis
is the recurrence of blockage in a coronary artery
that had been previously opened with a stent. This
condition affects 30 percent of patients treated with
coronary stents each year.
Although a narrowed stent can be reopened with another
procedure, the likelihood of repetitive re-narrowing
can be as high as 50 percent. By preventing the re-narrowing
of arteries, patients can avoid open heart surgery,
the only option after repeated unsuccessful angioplasties.
The Guidant Corporation, which manufactures the system,
is a Houston-based company.