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KHI Introduces New Device to Treat Blocked Neck Artery

vascular/endovascular surgeon Omran Abul-Khoudoud, M.D.
ASHLAND, KY — The Kentucky Heart Institute (KHI) announced today the first completed case as a participant in the Sapphire Worldwide registry, a 350-center registry designed to assess the 30-day success rate following the placement of a stent in high surgical risk patients with carotid artery disease.

The devices used in the Sapphire Worldwide registry include the Precise® Nitinol Stent, a small, wire-mesh tube that props open the blocked artery and the Angioguard® Emboli Capture Guidewire System, a tiny, basket-like device designed to trap any particles of plaque, blood clot, or other material that may be dislodged during stent placement. The Cordis Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson company, manufactures both devices, which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The carotid artery stent procedure was performed Friday, May 11 by KDMC vascular/endovascular surgeon Omran Abul-Khoudoud, M.D., who also serves as the principal investigator for the Sapphire Worldwide study at King’ Daughters.

Angioguard® Emboli Capture Guidewire System
“The Sapphire Worldwide registry will help us anticipate which high surgical-risk patients may experience a major adverse event after a stent placement, enabling us to better treat this group of patients who have few treatment options,” Dr. Abul-Khoudoud says. “The results will also enable us to better understand the training needed to optimally treat these patients.”

The carotid arteries are found on each side of the neck and carry blood from the heart to the brain. Carotid artery disease is the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in the major neck vessels delivering blood to the brain, a major cause of stroke. Carotid artery stenting is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure intended to improve blood flow to the brain while helping prevent debris from entering cerebral circulation, and an important alternative for patients who are ineligible for carotid endarterectomy, a surgical treatment for removing arterial plaque from the carotid artery.

“Risk factors for carotid artery disease include advanced age, family history of stroke, plaque buildup in other areas of the body, high blood pressure, and diabetes,” Dr. Abul-Khoudoud says.

Precise Stent
Precise® Nitinol Stent
The American Heart Association estimates that 20 to 30 percent of strokes are associated with carotid artery disease, caused by particles of atherosclerotic plaque traveling into the vessels that supply the brain with oxygen and vital nutrients. Stroke affects an estimated 700,000 Americans each year, making it the nation’s third leading cause of death, and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability.

In May, King’s Daughters announced the creation of the Kentucky Heart Institute, a new corporation created to introduce the newest devices, medications and surgical procedures. The program is linked closely with the heart and vascular specialists associated with KDMC, as well as major pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and research foundations.

Cardiologist Robert Touchon, M.D., serves as medical director for the institute, and vice president of KDMC’s Heart and Vascular Center, Kristie Whitlatch, serves as the institute’s executive director.Principal investigators for the KHI include Dr. Abul-Khoudoud and fellow endovascular surgeon Ed Martinez, M.D., and cardiologist Richard Paulus, M.D.

To learn more about Sapphire Worldwide and other clinical trials taking place at the Kentucky Heart Institute, please visit, or call 1-888-377-KDMC (5362).

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