LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Arkansas Heart Hospital becomes the first place in the U.S. to use a revolutionary device that helps patients suffering from peripheral artery disease or PAD.
According to the American Heart Association, the most common symptom of PAD is a painful muscle cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising.
Symptoms of severe PAD include:
•Leg pain that does not go away when you stop exercising
•Foot or toe wounds that won't heal or heal very slowly
•A marked decrease in the temperature of your lower leg or foot particularly compared to the other leg or to the rest of your body
PAD diagnosis begins with a physical examination. Your healthcare provider will check for weak pulses in the legs.
Dr. Ian Cawich at Arkansas Heart Hospital is using technology that allows him to better treat patients with peripheral artery disease or PAD. It's called the Ocelet catheter. Traditionally, cardiologists had only an X-ray to see outside an artery; but with the help of a camera they're able to see inside.
Wednesday, our cameras got an inside look at one of the first procedures performed on humans in the U.S. Dr. Cawich says, "It's a big advantage to be able to do that. Our success rates are higher because we can stay inside the vessel and we're able maybe to use less stenting."
Catheter developer, Dr. John Simpson describes how it works; "The device is a catheter with a small drill. The drill has a camera. We drill through the blockage and we use the camera to guide our drilling process." He continues, "In a completely blocked artery, the X-ray is not very reliable, so the camera is more reliable."
It allows surgeons to be more effective. Heart Hospital CEO Dr. Bruce Murphy says in the past they've had imaging devices, but never one that works on the artery and improves circulation; "So often the cardiologist doesn't know exactly how much to push in a certain direction or push in another direction. This device gives great insight in the artery at the time the operator is moving the device."
And that cuts downs on leg amputations, a worst-case scenario associated with patients over 50 who have PAD. And with this new technology, it can hopefully lead to better research. Dr. Murphy says, "We think research that raises, not only the status of the hospital, but the environment in which the patients are treated."
And Dr. Cawich says it's much safer for doctors which means better results for patients; "By opening up this vessel and being able to go through the groin and using tools like this and we're able to stay in the artery and be successful."
In hopes of helping those suffering from PAD get back on their feet. The device has not yet been FDA approved.
This technology helps eliminate the need for bypass surgeries and amputations in patients with the disease.