The last thing you want to hear after having an angiogram is that some
of your arteries are 100% blocked. Ten years ago, this diagnosis meant
that you would likely need to be on medication for the rest of your
life, require heart by-pass surgery, or both. Physicians like R.
Michael Wyman, MD, a cardiologist with Cor Healthcare Cardiology Group, are utilizing innovative
technology to dramatically change lives for people with
Chronic Totally Occluded Arteries (CTO) and make it possible for patients to avoid both of those options.
At Torrance Memorial, people with completely blocked arteries have benefited
from Wyman's expertise and his participation in using the newest
FDA-approved technology. In fact, Wyman helped researchers test the BridgePoint
Device, which revolutionizes the way 100% blocked arteries can be cleared.
Picture completely blocked arteries-they have hard calcified plaques that
a catheter has to navigate around or through to clear. And since the artery
is 100% blocked, a physician can't rely on an x-ray dye pathway to
always see where the catheter should travel.
"The BridgePoint Device is a system with three different components
with the goal to get around or through the blockage and into the
true channel of the artery with a guide wire," Wyman explains.
The new CrossBoss Catheter, Stingray Catheter and Stingray Guidewire by
BridgePoint were approved by the FDA this past Spring after successful
clinical trials in which Wyman participated.
Wyman has utilized this system with patients at
Torrance Memorial's Lundquist Cardiovascular Institute for the past two years. He estimates that he treats approximately 100
patients a year with CTO, but he is helping patients nationwide as well.
Physicians across the country are being trained by Wyman on how to successfully
clear fully-blocked arteries and success rates for patients with CTO are
Patients with CTO are amazingly lucky to find Wyman- who is one of the
most experienced and educated physicians in America on the topic of this
dangerous condition. Wyman was a bit humble in the interview-and even
pointed out how the Japanese were pioneers in the treatment of CTO years
ago. As most people realize, however, the best physicians always strive
to learn from others, expand on that information and explore more ideas
Wyman, who earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School
of Medicine and completed dual fellowship programs at Boston's Beth
Israel Hospital (Cardiology) and Harvard Medical School (Medicine),
exemplifies this. He has travelled multiple times to Japan to work with
physicians specializing in CTO treatment there. He also spent time in
Chile as an early evaluator of the BridgePoint system, and was one
of the top enrollers in the US clinical trial. As the study investigator,
Wyman travelled to Washington, D.C., to present the findings to the interventional
community. This information helped garner FDA approval, which came earlier
"Chronic occlusions are the ultimate endpoint to coronary artery
disease. One hundred percent blocked arteries are the hardest to be fixed.
When people started doing angio plasty in the early '80s, some tried
to open CTO's up and success rates were pretty low. But with improvement
in devices and techniques, success rates have gone way up from 50% 10
years ago to the recent 85 % to 90% range for experienced operators,"
Amazingly, after a short recovery period, Wyman's patients go on with
their lives-even resuming rigorous exercise activities.