On February 9, Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West became the first Ascension hospital in the country and the only medical facility in Tennessee to offer intracoronary brachytherapy, a procedure that helps improve chest pain in patients with stents that have re-narrowed (sometimes called "collapsed") and reduces the chance of them narrowing again in the future. Two patients from two different southeastern states were treated at West on the day that the technology became available. With this minimally invasive technique, the cardiologist accesses the patient's narrowed artery with a catheter and exposes problematic scar tissue to small amounts of therapeutic radiation. Intracoronary brachytherapy adds about 10 minutes to a regular heart catheterization procedure. Patients are safely discharged home either the day of the procedure or the day after.
This offering is just one example of the types of innovative procedures that define the Advanced Coronary Therapeutics Program at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart. Dr. Jimmy Kerrigan and Dr. Elias Haddad are the interventional cardiologists serving as co-directors of this new program, which focuses on offering coronary interventions for patients who have been told that their procedures are not possible or are too risky at other institutions not only in Tennessee but also across the southeast.
"We at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart are incredibly excited about these enhanced offerings that we can now provide in Middle Tennessee," said Dr. Jimmy Kerrigan. He and Dr. Elias Haddad were the first physicians to perform intracoronary brachytherapy at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West on Tuesday, February 9.
The successful procedures are also being celebrated by radiation oncology leaders at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West, as noted by radiation oncologist Dr. Casey Chollet-Lipscomb of Tennessee Oncology: "We look forward to working closely with our cardiology colleagues to provide this much needed service."
Dr. Kerrigan added, "I've already heard from cardiologists at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta among others regionally who are excited about both the brachytherapy procedure and our Advanced Coronary Therapeutics Program that Dr. Haddad and I worked to develop at Saint Thomas. It is truly a privilege to be able to serve both my home town of Nashville, the entire region, and all of Ascension in this way."