A New Medical Device to Treat Complex Coronary Disease: A Quebec First for the Montreal Heart Institute

December 15, 2021

The Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) announces that the Hemodynamics Service has performed Quebec’s first intervention using an orbital atherectomy system on a patient. This state-of-the-art medical device dilates severely blocked arteries caused by calcium plaques.

This procedure creates space in the calcified artery for a stent to be installed. This small, expandable tube keeps the artery open and helps the blood flow properly.

“The treatment of calcified arteries has long been a major issue for patients with coronary artery disease,” says Dr. Guillaume Marquis-Gravel, an Interventional Cardiologist at the MHI and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Université de Montréal. “Other techniques are available for these patients, but they present a greater risk of complications and cannot treat at the same time the deep and superficial calcifications that block the arteries. Thus, not all interventional cardiologists use them. Since the orbital atherectomy system can treat these complex blockages, it will become more widely used in the future.”

Dr. Marquis-Gravel: the only cardiologist in Quebec qualified to perform this procedure

Only four cardiologists in the country, including Dr. Marquis-Gravel, have been using this Health Canada-approved orbital atherectomy system for the past year. Dr. Marquis-Gravel was certified during his fellowship in interventional cardiology at Duke University, a subspecialization made possible, among other things, by the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation.

Coronary Artery Disease: The Most Common Cardiovascular Disease

Coronary artery disease is plaque buildup formed from fat deposits and other substances, such as calcium, in the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Plaque causes a narrowing or blockage in oxygen-rich blood flow that could result in a heart attack. Although there is no cure for coronary artery disease, it can be treated with medication, lifestyle changes, and percutaneous or surgical interventions in more severe cases.

The MHI, Canada’s First Specialized Cardiology Teaching Centre

“Continuing education is one of the founding pillars of our hospital,” explains Mélanie La Couture, President and CEO of the MHI. “Fellowships like the one Dr. Marquis-Gravel completed allow our professionals to remain at the forefront of cardiology and to bring back to Montreal the latest developments in cardiovascular medicine that improve our patients’ lives.”