Therapy for severely calcified coronary vessels

The Andreas-Grüntzig Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at the USZ have the latest technologies for treating patients with coronary artery disease who have severe calcification of the coronary arteries.


In certain cases, marked calcifications of the coronary vessels cannot be dilated by a conventional balloon. In these situations, intravascular lithotripsy (IVL) and rotablation can be used. Targeted pretreatment of the calcified vessel can optimally prepare severely calcified vessels for subsequent stent implantation, which significantly improves long-term outcomes.

  • Intravascular Lithotripsy (IVL): A special balloon is placed at the tip of the lithotripsy catheter. When the balloon is activated, shock waves are emitted in a controlled manner, similar to kidney stone disintegration. These shock waves specifically hit and shatter the calcium buildup in the vessels. Breaking up the vascular calcium allows a severely calcified vessel to be completely dilated and a stent to be implanted. With IVL, you also remain awake during the treatment, as the delivered shock waves do not cause any pain.

  • Rotablation: A special catheter with a tiny diamond drill at its tip can be used to remove the calcification. Although the diamond drill can be surprisingly noisy, the treatment is painless. Once the calcium is removed, a balloon can be inserted and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty can continue as usual.

For patients

You can either register yourself or be referred by your primary care physician, specialist.

Tel. +41 44 255 15 15

For referrals

University Hospital Zurich
Universitäres Herzzentrum Zürich
Rämistrasse 100
8091 Zürich

Tel. +41 44 255 15 15
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