HonorHealth Research Institute innovator to perform two live heart procedures, demonstrating how to minimize radiation exposure

Dr. David Rizik’s replacement of a critical heart valve and his unblocking of a coronary artery will be witnessed by thousands of health professionals worldwide

SAN FRANCISCO and SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Oct. 25, 2023 — David G. Rizik, M.D., medical director of the Cardiovascular Research Division at HonorHealth Research Institute, will perform two live catheter-based cardiovascular procedures today during the 35th Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) Conference, the world's foremost educational forum specializing in interventional cardiovascular medicine.

Both procedures — pioneered at the Research Institute — while highly complex and precise, are now relatively common. The primary purpose of Dr. Rizik’s live demonstration is to show the effectiveness of radiation shields adopted by HonorHealth Research Institute. These shields help protect doctors, nurses and technicians who work in interventional cardiology laboratories.

While generally considered safe, repeated exposure to low-level radiation over time presents a potential cancer risk.

In March, the Research Institute announced that it is among the first healthcare providers in the U.S., and the first in Arizona, to use an advanced radiation protection system as part of the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

While the TCT Conference will take place at the Moscone Center convention hall in San Francisco, Oct. 23-26, Dr. Rizik’s demonstrations at the Research Institute in Scottsdale will be among nearly 40 global demonstrations — telecast live via satellite to San Francisco — and performed by some of the world’s leading cardiovascular experts at nearly 20 of the planet’s most distinguished medical institutions. Dr. Rizik considers TCT to be the premier continuing education meeting for physicians practicing heart and vascular medicine.

“This is a premier opportunity to demonstrate to a global audience of cardiologists and other health experts what we have practiced for more than a year at HonorHealth Research Institute; that interventional cardiology procedures can be performed with zero, or near zero, radiation exposure to medical staff,” Dr. Rizik said.

Modern cardiac catheterization laboratories use multiple X-ray beams from different angles to produce high-quality images of the heart, major arteries and other tissues. These low-level radiation beams enable physicians to guide catheters and other devices during interventional cardiology procedures, which are non-surgical, catheter-based therapies for patients who do not require open-heart surgery.

Minimizing threat of repeated radiation exposure

Current standard radiation protection for operating room personnel — a lead apron — offers no protection to the head and face, with suboptimal shielding of the extremities, creating a potential risk of cataracts and certain cancers. In addition, the weight of the lead apron has been associated with orthopedic injury of the spine, hips and knees.

Dr. Rizik has likened the use of radiological equipment without the protection of radiation shields to football teams playing without helmets.

“The radiation protections we have adopted at HonorHealth Research Institute should be used worldwide for the health and safety of medical personnel,” said Dr. Rizik, who earlier this year demonstrated radiation shields at HonorHealth’s Scottsdale Interventional Forum (SIF), a nationally recognized cardiology conference founded by Dr. Rizik, and now celebrating its 20th year.

Interventional cardiologists like Dr. Rizik specialize in treating coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, congenital heart disease, and other heart problems. Those working in catheterization laboratories for 20 years or more are estimated to have received the equivalent of more than 10,000 chest x-rays to the head and neck. With equipment modifications for specific applications, the findings may confer workplace benefit to others working in medical specialties exposed to radiation.

What is the TCT Conference?

The TCT Conference advertises itself as “four days of disruptive innovation and groundbreaking science with thought leaders, and 10,000+ multi-disciplinary health care professionals in an environment designed to foster engagement and interactive learning, hands-on training, networking, and collaboration.”

TCT features major medical research breakthroughs and gathers leading researchers and clinicians from around the world to present and discuss the latest evidence-based research.