Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center has begun using a new treatment option for patients with severely calcified coronary artery disease. The new technology is a novel application of lithotripsy, an approach that uses sonic pressure waves to safely break up kidney stones. It’s now available to treat problematic calcium in the coronary arteries that can reduce blood flow in the heart. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, with more than 600,000 people in the United States dying each year. As people with heart disease grow older and their disease progresses, plaque in the arteries evolves into calcium deposits, which can narrow the artery. Physicians often use stents to open an artery, but 30 percent have problematic calcium that increases their risk for adverse events.

Calcium makes the artery rigid and more difficult to reopen with conventional treatments. The new shockwave technology, also known as intravascular lithotripsy or IVL, allows physicians to fracture the problematic calcium using sonic pressure waves so that the artery can be safely expanded. Blood flow is then restored with the placement of a stent and without unnecessary complications. 

“The cardiology team at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center is steadfast in our commitment to give our patients access to the latest cardiovascular innovations to treat heart disease,” said Lori Blanton-Baugh, director of cardiology for Mercy Health – Springfield. “It is exciting to be starting a new chapter in the treatment of heart disease in some of our most complex patient cases after using the same tools for the last 30 years – especially one that improves the safety of the procedure for the benefit of those living in Clark and Champaign Counties.”

For important safety information regarding this new treatment, please visit You can also learn more about the cardiology services offered at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center by visiting our website.