January 24, 2018 |
New Procedure Unclogs Leg Arteries for PAD Patients
September 16, 2013  | 

Houston, TX - When peripheral artery disease (PAD) patients’ vessels are so hardened that it’s impossible for surgeons to push through the blockage, a new technique called retrograde access now gives surgeons an additional path from below.

Retrograde access is a delicate procedure that allows surgeons to go through arteries in the foot and work their way upward. Hosam El-Sayed, M.D., an endovascular surgeon with Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, says this procedure is not for everyone with PAD, but instead is only for complex patients with heavily calcified arteries, where plaque buildup has become severely hardened. This happens in many people who have severe diabetes. In these patients, it is not possible to open up blocked arteries by the regular procedure coming from above.

“During this procedure, we access those blocked arteries both from the foot and from the top of the leg through the groin and meet in the middle,” El-Sayed said. “Once that occurs, we can open the vessels with a balloon, a stent, or we can shave the plaque that has built up over time and free blood flow to the legs and feet.”

El-Sayed says smoking puts people at highest risk for PAD, but diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney failure and obesity are all contributing factors.

Some patients are told amputation is their only option, but El-Sayed says anyone with PAD who hears this should seek a second opinion. Continue>

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