A New Treatment for Peripheral Arterial disease (PAD)
There is a new minimally invasive treatment called SilverHawk® that is very effective at removing fatty deposits, also known as plaque, which can build up on the inner linings of artery walls in a person’s legs. This buildup of plaque in the arteries is called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, which can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, amputation, or death if left untreated.
Plaque excision is a minimally invasive procedure performed through a small puncture site in the leg or arm. The SilverHawk® technology uses a tiny rotating blade to shave away plaque from inside the artery. As it is shaved off, the plaque collects in the tip of the device and then is removed from the patient.
Plaque excision has helped alleviate severe leg pain for thousands of patients, and in many cases it has successfully saved the legs of patients who were scheduled for limb amputation after other treatments failed.
How Plaque Excision Works
1. The SilverHawk catheter is inserted into the body through a small puncture site. The doctor pushes it along inside the artery until it reaches the site of the blockage.
Precise and Predictable
Through a unique hinge design, the carbide blade is exposed at a fixed height during the procedure. This fixed height ensures that the plaque shaved off the artery’s walls are thin enough to be easily stored in the end of the device. The catheter is made of materials that allow surgeons a clear view of the blade and collection chamber during the procedure.
Massive Tissue Capture
Researchers have identified several risk factors that can be attributed to the development of PAD:
Coronary artery disease (CAD)
Additional risk factors include hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, family history, and African American or Hispanic ethnicity.
Critical Limb Ischemia
If left untreated, PAD can progress to critical limb ischemia (CLI), which occurs when there is not enough oxygenated blood being delivered to the leg to keep the tissue alive. An estimated 1.5 to 2 million people in the United States and Europe suffer from CLI, which occurs when symptoms of PAD—including pain, non-healing wounds, tissue loss, or gangrene—become more severe.
When CLI develops, it can lead to constant pain and even amputation of toes, feet, and/or part of the leg. Within one year of the onset of CLI, 25% of patients will die and another 25% will require major amputation. Last year, over 150,000 amputations were performed in the U.S. and Europe, with a 40% mortality rate at two years post-amputation.
Other PAD Treatment Options
In the past, treatment options for PAD have included exercise therapy and medication. Other options have included bypass surgery and minimally invasive procedures such as angioplasty, which clears a channel in the artery for blood flow by pushing plaque up against the artery walls with a balloon.
To Obtain a Referral
If you are interested in the SilverHawk procedure ask your doctor if he or she believes it would be an appropriate treatment. Endovascular surgeon William Su, MD, performs the procedure at Washington County Hospital. To schedule a consultation, call Dr. Su’s office at: 301-714-4335.
Free Screenings for PAD
The clinicians at Washington County Hospital regularly perform screenings for PAD. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 301-790-8627.
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