In this medical video learn how a small, but smart wire may be the perfect solution to help unblock complete heart blockages.
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Jennifer Matthews: Ronny Shalev looks like the picture of health. Ronny Shalev: I don't eat meat. I'm not fat. Jennifer Matthews: And he swims -- about an hour and a half each day. Jennifer Matthews: But taking the plunge was not as easy when Ronny started having chest pain. Ronny Shalev: While swimming, I felt that, I had like something that was heartburn-type sensation. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Roger Gammon told Ronny he had a total blockage in the most important artery in his heart. Dr. Roger Gammon: Many times, that is an incentive for that patient to go onto bypass surgery. Jennifer Matthews: But this new wire saved Ronny from surgery. It uses radio frequency energy to burn through blockages. A lighted guidance system helps doctors see exactly where the wire is, so it doesn't cut the artery wall. Once the wire makes its way through the blockage, doctors insert a stent to keep the artery open. Dr. Roger Gammon: It would be like turning on your car and being able to drive through a tunnel, whereas previously you were just sitting there stopped. Jennifer Matthews: Old wires could be as low as 30-percent effective. The new wire is about 80-percent successful at getting through a total blockage. Dr. Roger Gammon: That was our last frontier that we couldn't break through literally. And so now that we have a wire like this that can get us through, it gives us the opportunity to use those stents. And there's very few patients that can't be treated now. Jennifer Matthews: Ronny is relieved he was a candidate. Ronny Shalev: I was worried that they would have to open me up, and then I would be, I guess, a limited person. Today, I'm completely healthy. Jennifer Matthews: And more active than ever. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.