Limb Saving Treatment Times Two
Good Samaritan Hospital patients now have alternatives to the treatment of a painful condition known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). This condition refers to the diseases of the blood vessels outside of the heart. This involves the narrowing of the vessels that carry blood into the legs, arms, stomach, kidneys and brain. If left untreated, PVD of the legs can ultimately lead to amputations. In fact, it is the leading cause of amputations in the U.S.
Doctors at Good Samaritan Hospital use two FDA-approved equipment to remove harmful plaque build-up: The SilverHawk™ Plaque Excision System and the Diamondback 3600 Orbital Atherectomy System.
The SilverHawk™ Plaque Excision System uses a tiny rotating blade the size of a grain of rice to shave away large quantities of plaque from inside the artery. As it is removed, the plaque collects in the tip of the device and is then removed from the patient.
In comparison, the Diamondback 3600 Orbital Atherectomy System uses an asymmetrically mounted diamond coated crown to sand away the plaque. The process of repeated sanding and orbital action allows the healthy vessel wall to flex away from the crown reducing the potential for vessel injury. The plaque is sanded into small particles that are then carried through the bloodstream and is removed from the body through the natural elimination process in the kidneys and spleen.
"Both devices are really quite a complimentary system," says Dr. Mayeda. "Sometimes we use just one and sometimes we use both devices on a patient since the SilverHawk™ is perfect for larger arteries such as those in the thigh area. The Diamondback 3600 is perfect for smaller arteries in the lower leg below the knee."
Before SilverHawk™ and the Diamondback 3600, the use of blood thinners, stents, and balloon angioplasty were the only methods available to treat patients with PVD. These methods do not allow plaque to actually be removed from the artery, which means that the same problems can show up repeatedly.
"With balloons and stents, you are basically pushing the plaque against the arterial wall to allow better blood flow," said Dr. Mayeda. "Stents have to remain in place permanently and the artery may close again due to scar tissue growth within the stent, while balloon angioplasty may maintain the artery open for an even shorter period of time. By actually removing the plaque we can more effectively clear the arteries without leaving materials such as a metal stent in the artery. Since it actually enables us to remove plaque from the artery, patients seem to have a lower rate of recurring symptoms."
Those at risk of developing PVD include patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Other contributing factors include obesity, smoking and an inactive lifestyle. Screening for PVD is simple and painless so consult with your physician to find out if you are at risk.
For a referral to a Good Samaritan Hospital interventional cardiologist please call 1-800-GS-CARES or visit www.goodsam.org"