Peripheral angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed now in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia for the treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Medical technology has played a significant role in furthering this trend. PAD is a common circulatory problem in which the narrowed arteries reduce blood flow in the legs causing leg pain, numbness and/or discoloration.
A catheter is guided through to the peripheral artery using high-resolution fluoroscopic (X-ray) video and once in place, the obstruction is removed by laser, sanding or shaving. Then a balloon is usually inflated to stretch completely open. The fatty plaque or blockage is pressed against the artery walls enlarging the diameter of the artery and the balloon is deflated and removed. Peripheral drug eluting stents are often implanted in conjunction with balloon angioplasty to more effectively maintain good circulation in the treated vessel. Patients recover for four hours after the angioplasty procedure and then go home.
The goal is to help patients manage this chronic condition that is usually associated with coronary artery disease and diabetes in a convenient safe setting at a lower cost to the patient.
Robert E. Foster, MD, FACC, RPVI Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist Diplomate American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine with Birmingham Heart.
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