Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Norman, OK, April 4, 2016 – Norman Regional’s HealthPlex is the first hospital in Oklahoma to offer a new treatment recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide relief for patients suffering from the painful symptoms of peripheral artery disease, or PAD – a condition caused by a build-up of plaque that blocks blood flow in the arteries of legs or feet.

The device, Avinger’s Pantheris™ lumivascular system, is an image-guided therapy that, for the first time ever, allows physicians to see and remove plaque simultaneously during atherectomy – a minimally invasive procedure that involves cutting plaque away from the artery and clearing it out to restore blood flow.

Cardiologist Dr. Archana Gautam performed the state’s first procedure using this device on March 30, 2016 at Norman Regional’s HealthPlex. The patient was able to go home the next day. The patient reported constant pain but after undergoing this new procedure, is pain-free.

Because the device incorporates real-time optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging on a therapeutic catheter – like having a small camera on the tip of the device – physicians are able to remove this plaque more precisely than ever before, with less risk of damage to the artery walls which can result in aggressive scarring that greatly increases the risk of restenosis, or re-narrowing of the artery. In the past, physicians have had to rely solely on X-ray as well as touch and feel to guide their tools while they try to treat complicated arterial disease.

For patients, this safe and more-precise treatment may potentially reduce the need for follow-up procedures and stents.

“Peripheral artery disease is a common, costly and deadly disease that greatly impacts quality of life, with patients experiencing cramping, numbness, discoloration and pain,” said Dr. Gautam. “We are excited about the availability of the Pantheris technology, which is a significant step forward for the treatment of the condition, enabling a more precise removal of the plaque that is the cause of the symptoms of PAD.”

Peripheral artery disease affects nearly 20 million adults in the United States and is caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries that blocks blood flow to the legs and feet. Often dismissed as normal signs of aging, symptoms of PAD include painful cramping, numbness or discoloration in the legs or feet. PAD can become so severe and difficult to address with traditional treatments that patients and physicians often resort to undergoing invasive bypass surgeries, which can result in even higher health risks and lengthy, painful recoveries.

In severe cases, patients often face amputation, the worst-case scenario associated with PAD. With the lumivascular approach, physicians can more accurately navigate their devices and treat PAD lesions, thanks to the images they see from inside the artery.