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Hospitals Studying Cardiovascular Fiber Optic Device
Mar 2003
CARLSBAD, Calif., March 17 -- Clinical studies are underway for a new device that researchers hope will enable some patients with cardiovascular disease to bypass heart-bypass surgery.

Fifteen hospitals are participating in a study that uses fiber optic and radio frequency technology to facilitate a small opening in arteries completely blocked by plaque and fatty deposits that can build up and block circulation. IntraLuminal Therapeutics Inc. of Carlsbad, developed the device, which uses optical coherence reflectometry to analyze reflected near-infrared light transmitted from an angioplasty wire. It allows doctors to "see" into the plaque so they can navigate through the blockage with ultrasonic energy. Once a pathway has been cleared, traditional angioplasty treatment begins, including the use of balloons to open the artery and stents to keep the artery open.

The clinical trial, Guided Radio Frequency in Peripheral Total Occlusion (GRIP), is a prospective, controlled study involving about 75 patients nationwide. The aim of this study is to determine the safety and effectiveness of the guide wire.

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