New treatment for peripheral artery disease to be performed at Baton Rouge General

Dr. Schwartzberg will be the first physician in Louisiana to perform the new procedure

Baton Rouge, LA – Vascular surgeon Glen Schwartzberg will be the first physician in Louisiana to offer a new treatment cleared last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The procedure, which will be performed at Baton Rouge General, provides 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 the legs or feet.

The device, Avinger’s Pantheris™ lumivascular atherectomy system, is an innovative 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.

Because the Pantheris 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. Schwartzberg. “We are excited about this new technology. It’s a significant step forward and allows us a more precise removal of the plaque that blocks arteries.”

Clinical results confirm that the technology is safe and effective: a 130-patient study showed a target lesion revascularization rate of just 8%, and not a single event of vessel perforation, clinically significant dissection or late aneurysm resulted from Pantheris. In addition, this radiation-free technology may help minimize radiation exposure to clinicians and patients by decreasing use of fluoroscopy.

Peripheral artery disease affects nearly 20 million adults in the U.S. and over 200 million people globally. PAD 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.

Atherectomy is a minimally invasive treatment for PAD in which a catheter-based device is used to remove plaque from a blood vessel. Lumivascular technology utilized in the Pantheris system allows physicians, for the first time ever, to see from inside the artery during a directional atherectomy procedure by using an imaging modality called optical coherence tomography, or OCT. 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. With the lumivascular approach, physicians can more accurately navigate their devices and treat PAD lesions, thanks to the OCT images they see from inside the artery.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center

Baton Rouge General Medical Center is a full-service community hospital with 590 licensed beds between two campuses. As the first and only not-for-profit, full service community hospital in the capital city, Baton Rouge General opened its doors in 1900, and has provided the Greater Baton Rouge community with high-quality healthcare for generations. An accredited teaching hospital since 1991, Baton Rouge General serves as a satellite campus of Tulane University School of Medicine, and offers other medical education programs, including a School of Nursing, School of Radiologic Technology, Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. For more information, visit BRGeneral.org, find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/BatonRougeGeneral and follow us on Twitter at @BRGeneral.

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