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Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization

For patients with coronary artery disease who are not candidates for bypass surgery, Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Heart & Vascular Center cardiac surgeons offer transmyocardial laser revascularization, or TMR, to relieve chest pain.

TMR was developed for people whose vessels cannot be bypassed and whose angina is not relieved by medications or other treatments. Before the procedure was developed, there were few options available for these patients.

Angina is chest pain or pressure that patients often describe as feeling as if an elephant is sitting on their chests. It is an indicator of artery blockages or coronary artery disease.

During transmyocardial laser revascularization, cardiac surgeons make small holes through the patient’s heart with lasers to improve blood flow through the heart and other vessels. The lasers also can deaden nerves so patients feel less pain from angina.

With this surgery, 85 percent of patients have complete relief or some relief from angina. The procedure can dramatically improve the quality of life for those who are crippled by chest pain.

The Heart & Vascular Center was part of a nationwide trial for transmyocardial laser revascularization. The procedure was approved in 2000 by the Food and Drug Administration.

To make an appointment with a Washington University heart or vascular specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 855.925.0631.