Intracoronary Radiation Therapy | Tests | MedStar Health

Innovative radiation therapy to remove scar tissue in the arteries

Scar tissue can develop in your arteries after an angioplasty or stent placement, which can cause the arteries to become narrow again. Doctors in our Interventional Cardiology Program use an innovative technique involving radiation, which typically is used to destroy tumors, to target scar tissue within the arteries. Our high-volume catheterization program is always among the first in the nation to evaluate new technology and techniques such as this to improve your care.

What to expect during intracoronary radiation therapy

An IV will be inserted in your hand or your arm to provide fluids and a sedative to help you relax. Your care team will monitor your heart with an electrocardiogram during the procedure.

A local anesthetic will be injected to numb the insertion area in your arm or groin. The doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into an artery in the insertion area and guide it to the narrowed artery using X-ray imaging. When the catheter is in place, a small dose of radiation is applied to slow or stop rapid scar tissue growth and keep the artery clear.

The radiation is typically applied for five to 25 minutes, depending on the amount of tissue in your body. The doctor will then remove the catheter and close the incision. You will be taken to a recovery area to be monitored for a few hours while the sedation wears off.

Interventional cardiology program

We have one of the highest volume heart catheterization programs in the mid-Atlantic region, averaging nearly 12,000 procedures annually.


Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease in the United States.


Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Our locations

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

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