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First Nevada Use of Newly Approved Treatment for Heart Disease Performed at Siena Hospital


Dr. Karthiek Narala uses Shockwave IVL to treat calcified coronary plaque

LAS VEGAS, March 24, 2021 – Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Siena Campus announced that Dr. Karthiek Narala recently performed the first-in-Nevada use of a newly approved treatment option for patients with severely calcified coronary artery disease. Approved by the Food & Drug Administration in February, the new technology is a novel application of lithotripsy, which uses sonic pressure waves to safely break up kidney stones. The new shockwave procedure, intravascular lithotripsy or IVL, has now been approved to treat problematic calcium in the coronary arteries that can reduce blood flow in the heart. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Each year, more than 600,000 people in the United States die of heart disease. As people with heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease, grow older and their disease progresses, plaque in the arteries evolves into calcium deposits, which can narrow the artery. Physicians often use stents to open an artery, and of the approximately one million patients that undergo a stent procedure each year, 30 percent have problematic calcium that increases their risk for adverse events. 

Calcium makes the artery rigid and more difficult to reopen with conventional treatments, including balloons, which attempt to crack the calcium when inflated to high pressure, and atherectomy, which drills through the calcium to open the artery. The new IVL shockwave technology allows physicians to fracture the problematic calcium - using sonic pressure waves - so that the artery can be safely expanded, and blood flow is restored with the placement of a stent and without unnecessary complications.

Dr. Narala said, “This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the treatment of heart disease, which is still the leading cause of death in both men and women. After using the same tools for the last 30 years we are now using new technology that improves the safety of the procedure for the benefit of patients in our community.” 

Ric Miller, Dignity Health Nevada Senior Director of Cardiovascular Services, added, “Some of the most difficult and frustrating coronary blockages we deal with are those that have become calcified. Prior to the arrival of this technology we would utilize everything available and sometimes still be left with a hard blockage that would not fully open. The Shockwave device works to gently break up the calcium, clearing the artery, allowing the placement of a stent and thus eliminating, in some cases, the potential need for open heart surgery.” 

The Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Siena Campus has earned numerous awards and ratings in the area of cardiac care. In July 2020 Siena earned a “High Performing” rating from U.S. News & World Reports for Heart Failure in recognition of care that was significantly better than the national average, as measured by factors such as patient outcomes. “High Performing” is the highest rating U.S. News awards for that type of care. The Siena Campus also earned the 2020 Mission: Lifeline® STEMI Receiving Center - GOLD Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for its continued success in applying the most up-to-date, evidence-based treatment guidelines to improve patient care and outcomes. 

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About Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican:

As the community’s only not-for-profit, faith-based health system, Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican has been guided by the vision and core values of the Adrian Dominican Sisters since 1947. As the Henderson and Las Vegas communities grow, the St. Rose Dominican health system and its nearly 4,000 employees will continue the Sisters’ mission of serving people in need. St. Rose Dominican is a member of the multi-state Dignity Health network of nearly 10,000 physicians, 60,000 employees, 41 acute care hospitals, and 400-plus care centers, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, imaging centers, and primary care clinics. For more information, visit our website at www.strosehospitals.org. Dignity Health was recently recognized as part of Forbes’ annual list of America’s Best-In-State Employers 2020, as one of the top ten best employers in Nevada.

Publish Date: 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Media Contact


Gordon Absher, External Communications Manager

p: (702) 616-4840

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