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ROPH to Treat Artery Disease With New Procedure

(Oak Park) -- Rush Oak Park Hospital is the first hospital in the surrounding area to acquire and use a newly approved technology that allows vascular surgeons to see in real-time the plaque they are removing during an atherectomy, a minimally invasive procedure that helps treat peripheral artery disease (PAD). 

“The fact that a physician is visually guided while removing the buildup of plaque in the blood vessel can help prevent the formation of scar tissue, which can possibly lead to another blockage down the road,” says Charles Schubert, MD, the first vascular surgeon to use the Pantheris Lumivascular Atherectomy System at ROPH. “This new system allows for safer, more precise removal of the plaque during an atherectomy procedure.”   

The technology, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in March, is the first-ever image-guided atherectomy catheter. During the procedure, an imaging fiber located at the end of the catheter inserted inside a patient's femoral artery uses light to provide live, real-time images of the artery during the procedure. This offers groundbreaking information to the specialist and allows for safe removal of plaque without damaging any structures within the artery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately eight million Americans suffer from PAD, which is caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries that blocks blood flow to the legs and feet. If not treated properly or in a timely manner, the disease can result in bypass surgeries, or, in severe cases, leg amputations.
Other options for treating less severe PAD include exercise and drug therapy, added Schubert. “This new technique provides a much greater level of control and visualization for physicians.”

Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Leg pain that won’t go away after exercise
  • Foot or toe wounds that won’t heal or heal very slowly
  • Gangrene
  • Decrease in temperature of lower leg or foot compared to the other leg