An alternative to the laser irradiation of atherosclerotic lesions has been developed. A pulsed electrocardiogram R wave-triggered electrical spark erosion technique is described. Controlled vaporization of fibrous and lipid plaques with minimal thermal side effects was achieved and documented histologically in vitro from 30 atherosclerotic segments of six human aortic autopsy specimens. Craters with a constant area and a depth that varied according to the duration of application were produced. The method was confirmed to be electrically safe during preliminary in vivo trials in the coronary arteries of seven anesthetized pigs. The main advantages of this technique are that it is simpler to execute than laser irradiation and potentially more controllable.

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Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Slager, C., Essed, C., Schuurbiers, J., Bom, K., Serruys, P., & Meester, G. (1985). Vaporization of atherosclerotic plaques by spark erosion. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 5(6), 1382–1386. Retrieved from