An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from the painful symptoms of peripheral artery disease.
PAD, as it's also known, is caused by a build-up of plaque that blocks blood flow in the arteries of the legs or feet.
Thankfully though, there's now help with this first of its kind image-guided treatment.
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Avinger’s pantheris lumivascular atherectomy system uses real-time imaging to help doctors see inside the arteries and at the same time, remove plaque.
In a minimally invasive procedure called atherectomy, doctors are able to cut plaque away from the artery and clear it out to restore blood flow.
What makes the pantheris remarkable is its therapeutic catheter.
It has a camera on this thin little wire.
This way, plaque lining the femoral artery can be removed more precisely.
Before this, doctors relied on x-ray and touch-and-feel to guide the wire and cutting tool.
"Once you have peripheral arterial disease, one of the goals is to re-establish circulation to your legs and that's where I think, new, cutting-edge technology is very important because these blockages can be extremely difficult to cross, to treat and to keep the artery open," said Dr. Venkatesh Ramaiah, medical director of Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital.
Dr. Ramaiah says patients age from 30 to 85 years old.
The goal here he says is to improve circulation and save the limb.
Over 150,000 amputations are done yearly, nationwide.
This device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016 and Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital was among the first hospitals nationwide to perform the procedure.
Just recently, Avinger, the maker of the device, received FDA clearance for the next generation of the device, which includes several design improvements.
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