New Drugs from Fish Oil Could Aid Coronary and Peripheral Artery Repair
Every year, more than a half-million Americans undergo procedures to have a narrowed coronary artery propped open with a small metal mesh tube, or stent. The procedure is common for certain patients who’ve experienced a heart attack or other arterial blockages, and it helps to restore blood flow. But in about one in four cases (one in three if it's your leg artery), the vasculature tissue starts renarrowing again after the procedure, effectively regrowing the blockage. The problem of excessive vascular scarring isn’t limited to stents, but also affects many other common procedures such as angioplasty, bypass surgery, and placement of fistulas or grafts for patients on dialysis. “When we operate on an artery it always causes an inflammatory reaction and a subsequent scarring response just like anywhere else on your body, even the skin,” said Michael S. Conte, M.D., Chief of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery at UCSF.