JACKSON, Miss. – J. Kevin Bridges, M.D., who practices Internal Medicine and is a Clinical Lipidologist, (Merit Health Medical Group clinic in Madison) now offers a new procedure for lowering LDL-C (bad Cholesterol) in patients who have not responded to the traditional treatments of lifestyle changes and medications. The procedure, called selective LDL apheresis, is done on an outpatient basis. Patients usually have no symptoms during or after the procedure and can resume normal activity afterward.
According to Dr. Bridges, the procedure is not for everyone. “Most people can tolerate various cholesterol medications, along with lifestyle changes to help get their numbers to goal,” notes Bridges. “But people who have genetic cholesterol disorders almost always have difficulty in achieving their target cholesterol level. And, the prevalence of these disorders is more common than you might think.”
Selective LDL apheresis involves a patient coming in to the clinic and being connected to a machine that removes blood from their arm. The device then selectively removes the LDL-C and the treated blood is infused back into the patient.
“The results are almost immediate,” continues Bridges. “I have a patient who came to see me with an LDL-C of almost 600 mg/dl, and her LDL-C after treatment now, runs in the 30’s-40’s. By the time she is due for her next treatment, her LDL-C has risen into the 200’s.
According to Bridges, the procedure has been highly successful for qualifying patients. There are only three, FDA approved indications for this procedure:
• LDL-C > 500 mg/dl in patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia
• LDL-C > 300 mg/dl in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia
• LDL-C of 160 mg/dl or greater in patients with peripheral arterial disease or coronary heart disease (this is likely the largest potential group of patients that could benefit).
In closing Dr. Bridges adds, “I think this is an important procedure for those that need it; however, lifestyle changes that include a heart healthy diet and moderate aerobic exercise should always be the cornerstone of a treatment plan for someone with high cholesterol.”
For more information contact: Alicia Carpenter, Merit Health, (601) 824‐ 8410, Alicia.Carpenter@MyMeritHealth.com.