(Wednesday, September 26, 2018) Guam Regional Medical City’s Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Joseph G. Wiedermann made local history yesterday, performing the first rotational atherectomy on Guam. The procedure involves a medical device called a Rotablator, which features a diamond encrusted burr, similar to a drill bit, which spins at 150,000 RPM through the artery under very careful guidance. Once the Rotablator has removed the superficial calcium layer from inside the artery, it can be expanded normally with balloons and stents.

“Many patients, particularly older ones, have arteries that are so heavily calcified, a normal angioplasty balloon will not expand in the vessel and stents cannot be deployed,” said Dr. Wiedermann. “In this patient, his left anterior descending artery, which supplies the entire front wall of the heart, was heavily calcified and severely narrowed.”

The patient underwent the procedure after being referred to GRMC by his physician at GMH. Wiedermann performed the rotational atherectomy using a 1.5mm burr throughout the affected vessel and was able to implant two drug-eluting stents, resulting in a perfect angiographic result. The patient tolerated the procedure well and is scheduled for release today.

“GRMC’s Cardiology department continues to prove what a lifesaving asset it is to the people of Guam,” said Dr. Mike Cruz, GRMC President and COO, “We relaunched our open-heart surgery program last month and now, we’ve reached another milestone, with our head of Cardiology, Dr. Wiedermann performing a historic medical procedure yesterday.”

Contact GRMC’s Specialty Clinics at 645-5500 to make an appointment with Cardiology.