Coronary brachytherapy is a treatment that is used to combat restenosis (the repeat narrowing of a coronary artery) in patients undergoing treatment of coronary artery disease with angioplasty or stents. Restenosis often occurs as a result of recurrent coronary artery disease, either blood clotting (thrombosis) or tissue regrowth.
While anti-clotting drugs can treat restenosis caused by thrombosis, radiation is used to treat restenosis that occurs from tissue growth by preventing the cells from reproducing. For restenosis, angioplasty is performed, and then the radiation is delivered by inserting a catheter with the radioisotope inside of it to the localized area of concern in the artery.
Brachytherapy can reduce the risk of restenosis by up to 30 to 50 percent.