Blockage breakthrough

Nicholas Burke, M.D. shows Steve Erickson his X-rays before and after insertion of a new angioplasty device.

[Star Tribune, February 22, 2010] Last summer, Steven Erickson was in such sad shape he could barely make it out to his vegetable garden without huffing and puffing. To combat frequent chest pain, he was popping about 100 nitroglycerin pills every three days or so.

The conundrum facing Erickson's doctor and many others -- finding a device that safely and effectively treats completely blocked coronary arteries -- poses a vexing challenge in cardiology.

Now, a Plymouth-based start-up called BridgePoint Medical has developed a device-based technology to treat such patients.

"We haven't found the Holy Grail [for treating these arteries], but this is about as close as we can come," said Dr. Nicholas Burke, an interventional cardiologist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

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