FDA approves heart laser treatment

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 09 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1407
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    A laser treatment for refractory angina known as transmyocardial revascularisation has won cautious approval from a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel. Last year the technique was rejected.

    The treatment is an experimental procedure in which 20­40 holes, each 1 mm in diameter, are drilled by a laser into a beating left ventricle. PLC Systems, the manufacturer of the laser, had applied for FDA approval of its heart laser system and of the technique.

    Proponents of the procedure believe that the holes promote angiogenesis and mature into blood vessels, which subsequently feed oxygen rich blood to ischaemic myocardium. But little evidence exists that this …

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