Department of Biomedical Engineering
Improving Angioplasty and Bypass Results
Balloon angioplasties or bypass grafts of the blood vessels to the heart are among the most common procedures performed in the United States, with more than 2,000,000 done each year. Over 500,000 additional procedures are performed annually on blood vessels away from the heart. All these interventions cause damage to the cells lining the blood vessels. These cells must migrate over the injured area to restore the normal lining and prevent narrowing and recurrent blockage of the blood vessels. Oxidized lipids (bad cholesterol) stop the cells from healing these injuries. We have found that this is caused by the abnormal opening of certain calcium channels in the cells. We are developing new treatments to stop the undesirable opening of these channels and promote healing of the blood vessels. In addition, we have found the high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) blocks the opening of some of these channels and improves healing. We are studying how this occurs so we can develop better ways to promote the healing of the injured blood vessels after surgery or balloon angioplasty.
Summary: The Graham laboratory is studying the healing of blood vessel injuries after balloon angioplasty or bypass grafts and is developing ways to promote normal healing. This will improve the long-term results of angioplasties, stenting, or bypass grafts for the benefit all patients with cardiovascular disease.
See also: Graham Lab