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At a time when more than 150 new kidney-related cases are reported in Goa every year, there’s finally good news for patients suffering from chronic kidney ailments needing angioplasty.

In a unique, first-of-its-kind procedure, doctors at the Healthway Hospital performed a complex angioplasty on a patient suffering from a chronic kidney disease without the use of contrast media, a dye that can prove harmful to those suffering from renal issues. 

This is the first angioplasty procedure of its kind to be conducted in the state. 

The lifesaving angioplasty was conducted by the hospital’s consultant cardiologist Dr. Ajeya Mundhekar with the help of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), a cutting-edge technology that taps the medium of ultrasound to visualize an artery from the inside to aid the highly complex procedure, thereby minimizing dependence of traditional contrast media, which can potentially cause damage to the kidneys.

“Zero-contrast angioplasty was performed for the first time in Goa. Besides helping in accurate decision-making, this technique preserved the patient’s life and prevented the risk of kidney failure and dialysis,” Dr. Mundhekar said.

The 58-year-old male patient from Mapusa was a chronic smoker and had long-standing uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and chronic kidney disease with elevated creatinine of 2.9.  He was admitted following congestive cardiac failure and recurrent angina with past history of inferior wall MI (heart attack) for which he had undergone angioplasty to his right coronary artery and his left anterior descending in 2008. After he suffered another cardiac failure recently, he was turned down by many leading cardiologists because of his elevated creatinine.

After the detailed diagnosis at Healthway Hospital, the patient was once again turned down by several surgeons because of the extremely high risk involved in a traditional angioplasty procedure.

The Healthway Hospital team in Goa then devised a first-of-its-kind surgical procedure with zero-contrast angioplasty.  

“In this novel technique of zero-contrast angioplasty, we passed a wire into his arteries and for imaging, we used a camera-like device and performed IVUS in his artery. So, without using contrast, we were able to see his artery completely from the inside, how tight the blockages are, how long the blockages are, and traced the calcium deposits,” Dr. Mundhekar said.  

“The intervention and the decisions leading to it were based purely on the intravascular ultrasound and we achieved an excellent result by opening up his most important artery, the LED, using two stents in the end. We just took one final picture which showed a very well expanded and opened up artery which we again also confirmed using intravascular ultrasound,” he also said.

The cardiologist explained that zero-contrast angioplasty is a new technique gradually picking up in the West, especially vis a vis the patients who have borderline or impaired renal function. Angioplasty, he said, can now be carried out without using contrast, which means that the patient’s kidney function would not decline because of the procedure.

“This definitely brings a big hope in treating patients with chronic kidney disease. While the surgery can be performed on patients of all age groups, the zero-contrast angioplasty is particularly necessary for patients with impaired kidney function,” he said.