Direct Infusion Catheter Procedure Saves Heart Muscle

November 1, 2012

ClearWay RX drug-delivery balloon catheter

Illustration of ClearWay RX catheter inside a vessel.

ST. LOUIS - Nationally, one in five heart attack patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. Mercy Hospital St. Louis is taking steps to address this concern, one of which is the use of a new type of balloon catheter in cardiac catheterization procedures.

Mercy is the first hospital in the area to adopt the Atrium ClearWayTM RX catheter. ClearWay RX is a drug-delivery balloon catheter that was recently shown to save more heart muscle compared to standard therapies with patients being treated for a heart attack in a randomized clinical trial called INFUSE-AMI. The porous balloon is inserted into the vessel where medication is delivered directly to the blocked artery. Recent studies demonstrated that lesion directed drug therapy of traditional Intra-venous (IV) medications can more effectively dissolve clots and reduce complications that may arise during the procedure.

Traditional methods during cardiac catheterizations restore blood flow to the heart, but the procedure itself can cause damage to the heart muscle. Patients are typically provided with IV medication during and following the procedure to protect the patient. After the procedure, blood thinners are prescribed to dissolve clots and to prevent new clots from forming inside the stent. However, recent data suggests one in two patients do not fill necessary prescriptions, which can lead to readmission and possibly a subsequent heart attack.

Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In the east Missouri region, Mercy’s services include a 979-bed hospital in St. Louis, 187-bed hospital in Washington, and Mercy Clinic, a 575-member multispecialty physician organization.  For more about Mercy, visit


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