Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is painful as well as dangerous, characterized by a build-up of plaque that blocks blood flow in the arteries of the legs and feet, preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the extremities. In severe cases, it can lead to amputation.
Attending cardiac interventionalist Dr. Vincent Varghese directs the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Burlington County, and says PAD can’t be treated as an isolated issue. “When people have a problem with PAD,” he says, “it’s also related to heart attack and stroke; so it’s something we can use to screen patients and really be aggressive to treat their lifestyle factors to lower their risk.”
But the plaque has to be removed to open up the arteries, through a procedure called atherectomy. Most physicians depend on X-ray images and touch or feel to steer their tools during the procedure. Deborah is one of few in the region to treat some cases of PAD with the Pantheris catheter, which can be used for diagnostic imaging and treatment of PAD simultaneously. It allows cardiologists to see inside the arteries for the first time and cut out only the diseased tissue. Deborah was involved in the clinical trials for Pantheris as well, resulting in one of the nation’s most skilled teams in using this groundbreaking technology.
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