Published on March 04, 2021

NMMC Treats First Heart Patient with Shockwave Technology

Heart and Vascular institute team

Dr. Barry Bertolet and the NMMC Heart and Vascular Institute team performed Mississippi’s first intravascular lithotripsy procedure March 4 at NMMC.

TUPELO, Miss.—On March 4, North Mississippi Medical Center became the first hospital in Mississippi to treat a patient with sonic pressure waves to address coronary plaque that restricts blood flow. 

“As heart disease progresses, plaque in the arteries evolves into calcium deposits, which can narrow the artery,” explains Barry Bertolet, M.D., an interventional cardiologist who performed the first intravascular lithotripsy procedure at NMMC. “Calcium makes the artery rigid and harder to treat, and it can result in complications for patients undergoing stent procedures.”

Doctors have used lithotripsy for decades to break up kidney stones—and now it’s being used for heart disease. “We insert a catheter and slightly inflate a balloon, then we activate the sonic pressure waves to crack calcium in the artery wall,” Dr. Bertolet says. “We then expand the balloon to make way for the stent.”

Under Dr. Bertolet’s leadership, NMMC was in the Top 10 Enrolling Centers in the worldwide DISRUPT CAD III clinical trial. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved intravascular lithotripsy on Feb. 21.

For more information about NMMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute, visit or call 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).

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