Thanks to new medical technology, vascular surgeons can now treat life-threatening limb disease in an outpatient setting.
Understanding Critical Limb Ischemia
Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI), also referred to as “limb-threatening” ischemia, is an advanced stage of peripheral artery disease (PAD). People with CLI suffer from restricted blood flow in their limbs – most notably the legs, ankles, and feet. The resulting blockages are not only painful, but critical enough to cause tissue death. This can lead to death of the entire limb, and in the most severe cases they are life-threatening.
Today, new medical technology and cutting edge procedures are allowing highly trained vascular surgeons and interventional physicians to safely open blockages in arteries below the knee – an endeavor that was previously very difficult and risky. Surgeons can now insert a very small device, called an atherectomy device, into the problem artery to safely clear plaque blockages and calcification without making an open incision.
Improved Atherectomy Devices – These devices are used to treat calcification and blockages in the arteries. The Diamondback 360 by Cardiovascular Systems Inc. (CSI) uses a diamond-coated 1.25mm crown to sand down calcium and plaque buildup in the arteries so that a balloon may be inserted to stretch the artery open. The Phoenix Atherectomy System by Volcano performs a similar action; however, the blade design shaves material directly into the catheter where it is captured and continuously removed.
Improved Imaging Systems – Procedures can now be performed using advanced imaging systems, such as GE Healthcare’s OEC mobile C-arm and NuBOOM system. NuBOOM allows a surgeon to align different views of the operating field through multiple monitors mounted on multiple arms.
Benefits to Patients
Thanks to these developments, vascular surgeons can now treat blockages in an outpatient setting with conscious sedation. The result is that procedures are done in a timelier fashion with dramatically reduced costs to the patient and insurance provider. The procedure is nearly painless and results are immediate; patients experience improved blood flow before they leave the office.