Limb Saving Treatment Times Two
Good Samaritan Hospital patients now have alternatives to the treatment
of a painful condition known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). This
condition refers to the diseases of the blood vessels outside of the heart.
This involves the narrowing of the vessels that carry blood into the legs,
arms, stomach, kidneys and brain. If left untreated, PVD of the legs can
ultimately lead to amputations. In fact, it is the leading cause of amputations
in the U.S.
Doctors at Good Samaritan Hospital use two FDA-approved equipment to remove
harmful plaque build-up: The SilverHawk™ Plaque Excision System
and the Diamondback 3600 Orbital Atherectomy System.
The SilverHawk™ Plaque Excision System uses a tiny rotating blade
the size of a grain of rice to shave away large quantities of plaque from
inside the artery. As it is removed, the plaque collects in the tip of
the device and is then removed from the patient.
In comparison, the Diamondback 3600 Orbital Atherectomy System uses an
asymmetrically mounted diamond coated crown to sand away the plaque. The
process of repeated sanding and orbital action allows the healthy vessel
wall to flex away from the crown reducing the potential for vessel injury.
The plaque is sanded into small particles that are then carried through
the bloodstream and is removed from the body through the natural elimination
process in the kidneys and spleen.
"Both devices are really quite a complimentary system," says
Dr. Mayeda. "Sometimes we use just one and sometimes we use both
devices on a patient since the SilverHawk™ is perfect for larger
arteries such as those in the thigh area. The Diamondback 3600 is perfect
for smaller arteries in the lower leg below the knee."
Before SilverHawk™ and the Diamondback 3600, the use of blood thinners,
stents, and balloon angioplasty were the only methods available to treat
patients with PVD. These methods do not allow plaque to actually be removed
from the artery, which means that the same problems can show up repeatedly.
"With balloons and stents, you are basically pushing the plaque against
the arterial wall to allow better blood flow," said Dr. Mayeda. "Stents
have to remain in place permanently and the artery may close again due
to scar tissue growth within the stent, while balloon angioplasty may
maintain the artery open for an even shorter period of time. By actually
removing the plaque we can more effectively clear the arteries without
leaving materials such as a metal stent in the artery. Since it actually
enables us to remove plaque from the artery, patients seem to have a lower
rate of recurring symptoms."
Those at risk of developing PVD include patients with high blood pressure,
diabetes and high cholesterol. Other contributing factors include obesity,
smoking and an inactive lifestyle. Screening for PVD is simple and painless
so consult with your physician to find out if you are at risk.
For a referral to a Good Samaritan Hospital interventional cardiologist
please call 1-800-GS-CARES or visit