Author: Richard R. Heuser, M.D., FACC, FACP, FESC, FSCAI
Did you know that one in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has peripheral arterial disease (PAD)? PAD occurs when arteries become blocked with plaque. These fatty deposits inhibit blood flow and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
For years, interventional cardiologists have treated PAD with angioplasty and bypass surgery. Today, new PAD treatments are on the horizon. Some treatments are already being used on a regular basis.
New PAD Treatment: Sonic Shockwave Therapy
Angiogenesis (growing new blood vessels) is an important aspect of the healing process. Today, physicians can stimulate angiogenesis via ultrasound waves. This process is sometimes referred to as “extracorporeal shockwave therapy.”
Shockwave therapy is now considered a viable non-invasive method for treating PAD. By improving symptoms in patients who are not receiving adequate blood flow in the legs, shockwave therapy is helping more patients with PAD get back on their feet.
Once patients are mobile again, they can start walking, exercising, and improving blood flow for themselves. This treatment option is only available in limited areas. However, it’s likely that extracorporeal shockwave therapy will be more widely implemented in treating PAD over the next few years as the technology develops.
360º Orbital Atherectomy: Another New PAD Treatment Option
Another alternative to stent placement is treating PAD with a 360º orbital atherectomy system. With this technique, the surgeon introduces a catheter-based tool to the blocked arteries. On the tip of the tool is a diamond-encrusted crown that rotates a full 360º to “sand” away plaque buildup within the blood vessel. These devices rotate extremely fast and are able to remove plaque buildup without posing a serious risk for embolism (i.e. loosening a blood clot that could travel to the lungs or brain and cause a stroke).
For more information about new PAD treatments and your options at Phoenix Heart Center, please call 602-234-0004.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.