doi: 10.1097/CRD.0000000000000514.

Online ahead of print.


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Peter D Lenchur et al.

Cardiol Rev.



Lithotripsy has been used for decades in the treatment of kidney stones and gallstones, in which ultrasound shock waves generated outside of the body are used to physically break up hardened masses. In the past decade, intravascular lithotripsy (IVL), a technology developed by Shockwave Medical Inc. (Santa Clara, CA), has emerged as a novel therapy for the treatment of vascular calcification. In the coronary blood vessels, IVL modifies arterial calcium and enables percutaneous coronary interventions to be performed in a safe and consistent manner, and in the peripheral blood vessels, IVL can be used as a standalone therapy in the treatment of calcified plaque in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). Due to the success of the Disrupt CAD and Disrupt PAD clinical trials, IVL is now FDA-approved in the United States for use in both patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and PAD. The widespread adoption of IVL for PAD is likely to mirror the swift uptake seen in CAD. Although questions remain regarding IVL’s high cost and performance compared directly to other technologies such as atherectomy, its ease of use, speed, and safety makes its future extremely promising for the treatment of complex, heavily calcified lesions in both peripheral and coronary vessels. Despite this, more studies are certainly needed to determine in what clinical scenarios IVL should be considered as opposed to atherectomy and if there are types of calcified lesions where IVL is best utilized (ie, concentric vs eccentric).

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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A Novel Approach to Calcium Destruction in Coronary and Peripheral Blood Vessels: Intravascular Lithotripsy

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