22 Oct What is cardiac shockwave therapy?
If you are suffering from coronary artery disease (CAD), angina, or a variety of other heart problems, you might have heard about cardiac shockwave therapy (SWT) as a viable treatment option. But before embarking on any new treatment, you may also be concerned about how this therapy works. For any heart treatment, you should discuss your options with Tampa, FL cardiologist Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, who will explain in greater detail any therapy you might want to consider.
Remember, if you are experiencing an emergency such as heart pain accompanied by shortness of breath, call 911 and visit an emergency room immediately.
How Does Cardiac Shockwave Therapy Work?
For patients suffering from CAD, cardiac shockwave therapy (CSWT) has been newly developed based on the lithotripsy method; it uses noninvasive application of low-intensity shock waves to stimulate angiogenesis. Mechanical stimulation of acute ischemic myocardium by shockwave therapy (SWT) is known to improve cardiac function by induction of angiogenesis.
In layman’s terms: a shockwave device can deliver therapy to your heart in a similar way that a tens machine works for your muscles. Through the emission of shock waves directed at your heart, you can work to improve a variety of ongoing heart conditions. This is different from a defibrillator, which shocks your heart in a different, more powerful way to jump start the heartbeat function in an emergency situation or during/after CPR as a lifesaving technique.
Is Cardiac Shockwave Therapy Painful?
One of the biggest questions is: how painful is shockwave therapy? Shockwave therapy is non-invasive and non-surgical, but that doesn’t mean you might not still feel a bit of pain or discomfort in the treatment area during the procedure. However, most people say it feels like small pulses against the skin.
Is Cardiac Shockwave Therapy Effective?
Several experimental studies have demonstrated that the application of low-intensity shockwaves (SW) might induce the release of angiogenic factors such as endothelial nitric oxide synthase, vascular endothelial growth factor, and proliferating cell antinuclear antigen.
Another recent study stated: “SWT positively affects heart function in chronic ischemic heart failure by induction of angiogenesis and postnatal vasculogenesis. SWT upregulated pivotal angiogenic and vasculogenic factors in the myocardium in vivo and induced proliferative and anti‐apoptotic effects on endothelial cells in vitro. Mechanistically, these effects depend on vascular endothelial growth factor signaling and heparan sulfate proteoglycans. SWT is a promising treatment option for regeneration of ischemic myocardium.”
In order to determine if a specific treatment is right for you, Dr. Popat, who specializes in interventional cardiology in Tampa, can help. It is important to note, SWT may not be right for everyone and you should discuss with your doctor whether it is a viable option for you.
To consult with Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, a cardiologist in Tampa, FL, please call (813) 344-0934 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.
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