The heart, or myocardial muscle, is sponge-like in its structure. The laser method takes advantage of a unique ability found only in the heart muscle. In conditions of stress, the heart provides a small amount of nourishment for itself through the blood supply in the left ventricle. The phenomenon of self perfusion occurs in healthy hearts as well as in ischemic hearts. Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization takes advantage of this naturally occurring phenomenon. Char nels from the surface of the muscle of the left ventricle extending through to the ventricular cavity can be created with the laser to provide an additional supply of nourishment to the heart. The channels become like new little blood vessels, with the oxygen- rich blood provided by the blood supply in the left ventricle. The blood flows through the channels to the areas of need in the heart muscle. An adequate blood supply can prevent angina or myocardial ischemia.
The characteristics of laser energy make it an ideal tool to use. The channels can be made with little damage to surrounding tissue, and they can be made quickly. Experimental studies confirmed that the channels remained open, that they protected the heart muscle, and that this technique could be used as an alternative method for those patients who are not candidates for other procedures.
Heart and Lung Institute N124 W16862 Lovers Lane Germantown, WI 53022