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Physician at BRG Treats Blocked Arteries Using Sonic Waves

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  • Written By: Baton Rouge General

Sonic pressure waves break up blockages in leg arteries

Baton Rouge, LA – This week, the Vascular Specialty Center at Baton Rouge General announced that vascular surgeon Dr. Joseph Griffin was the first in the area to use sonic pressure waves to treat blocked arteries in the legs.

provider profileLithotripsy, a technology historically used to dissolve kidney stones, can now also benefit people suffering from Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) with a technology called Lithoplasty. Shockwave Medical’s Lithoplasty® System is a new therapy designed specifically to treat leg artery blockages found in PAD patients.

PAD blocks blood flow to the legs and feet, causing significant pain, limited mobility and can potentially lead to surgery or even amputation in severe cases. Caused by the buildup of plaque and calcium within the walls of arteries, PAD occurs primarily in the legs, but can be found in vessels throughout the body. The common treatment for PAD is balloon angioplasty, which involves inflating a balloon in the narrowing of the artery and expanding the artery to alleviate the blockage. Many patients do not respond well to angioplasty alone, with failure rates as high as 50 percent – often due to hardened calcium within the wall of the artery.

“Peripheral Artery Disease is painful and often life-altering, and we’re thrilled to bring patients in the Baton Rouge area a more effective solution,” said Dr. Joseph Griffin. “Hardened calcium is common but can be challenging to treat, and Lithoplasty offers a much-needed option with potentially less risk of damage or injury to the vessel.”

Shockwave Medical’s Lithoplasty® System integrates angioplasty balloon catheter devices with the calcium-disrupting power of sonic pressure waves, known as lithotripsy. Each Lithoplasty catheter incorporates multiple lithotripsy emitters activated with the touch of a button after the integrated balloon is inflated. Once activated, these emitters produce therapeutic sonic pressure waves that are inherently tissue-selective, passing through the balloon and soft vascular tissue, preferentially disrupting the calcified plaque inside the vessel wall by creating a series of micro-fractures. When the calcium has been modified, the vessel can be dilated using low pressures, thereby enabling even historically challenging PAD patients to be treated effectively with minimal injury to the vessel.

About Vascular Specialty Center: Vascular Specialty Center (VSC) provides care from fellowship-trained, board-certified, experienced leaders in vascular care who have served Baton Rouge and southern Louisiana with distinction for more than 30 years. Our professional, friendly vascular team has helped thousands of patients just like you. For more information, visit or call 225-399-4472.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Baton Rouge General Medical Center is the area’s first community hospital with 588 licensed beds between two campuses. Baton Rouge General opened its doors in 1900, and has provided the Greater Baton Rouge community with high-quality healthcare for generations. An accredited teaching hospital since 1991, Baton Rouge General serves as a satellite campus of Tulane University School of Medicine, and offers other medical education programs, including a School of Nursing, School of Radiologic Technology, Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @BRGeneral.