Detroit Medical Center Launches a Powerful High-Tech Procedure to Reduce Risk of Amputation in Diabetic Patients

Mar 24, 2011, 14:09 ET from Detroit Medical Center

New DMC Cardiovascular Institute technique restores blood flow to lower limbs

DETROIT, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) has implemented a ground-breaking new medical technology designed to protect patients with diabetes-related arterial disease from the risk of foot or leg amputation.

The innovative new procedure is aimed at greatly reducing the need for lower-limb amputations by restoring interrupted blood-flow to disease-damaged arteries.

Recently approved by the FDA, the new system for combating the effects of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) allows heart specialists to break up the hardened calcium deposits (known as "plaque") which cause damage to arterial walls in patients struggling with PAD.

Peripheral arterial disease is a chronic circulatory ailment that narrows affected arteries over time, often resulting in lower-limb amputation.  The disease currently affects 8-12 million Americans, more than one-fourth of whom also have critical limb ischemia (CLI) – an advanced stage of the illness which often requires amputation of severely damaged lower limbs.

According to the latest medical research, 70 percent of the patients who are forced to undergo lower-limb amputations due to PAD are diabetics with circulatory issues caused by their diabetes.  The same research shows that 40 percent of patients who receive such PAD-related amputations will die within two years of losing a foot or leg to the ailment.

But the new PAD-fighting technology, unveiled today at the DMC Cardiovascular Institute, means that heart doctors will now be able to significantly improve circulation in the legs and feet of many PAD patients.

Formally known as the "Stealth 360 Orbital PAD System," the FDA-sanctioned procedure permits clinicians to remove artery-clogging plaque by inserting a special catheter into the affected artery and then using centrifugal pressure to break up the hardened deposits on arterial walls.  Once the resulting plaque fragments have been washed away by the bloodstream, the interventional cardiologist inserts a tiny "angioplasty balloon" into the constricted artery, expanding it slightly and thus allowing normal blood flow to resume.

Cardiologist Theodore L. Schreiber, M.D., the President of the DMC Cardiovascular Institute, said the implementation of the PAD technology now provides DMC physicians with "a powerfully effective new tool that can help to protect PAD patients from the often disabling effects of arterial plaque caused by interrupted blood supply to the lower limbs."

"There's no doubt that PAD-related arterial damage – especially in diabetics – is a major cause of foot- and leg-amputation," added Dr. Schreiber, a nationally recognized medical innovator who earlier pioneered the development of the stent procedure for relieving blocked carotid arteries in Michigan.  "This new and clinically proven technology will now be available to help PAD patients by restoring blood flow to their lower limbs.

"For diabetic patients, especially, that's a very welcome breakthrough, because it promises to significantly reduce the risk of foot- and leg-amputation among this population of patients.  At the DMC Cardiovascular Institute, we're constantly looking for ways to put the very latest, state-of-the-art technology at the service of cardiac patients – and the adoption of this innovative new procedure will certainly help us accomplish that vital mission."

Physicians are available for interviews.

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About Detroit Medical Center

The Detroit Medical Center operates nine hospitals and institutes, including Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper University Hospital, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, Hutzel Women's Hospital, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Sinai-Grace Hospital, DMC Surgery Hospital, and DMC Cardiovascular Institute. The Detroit Medical Center is a leading regional healthcare system with a mission of excellence in clinical care, research and medical education.

SOURCE Detroit Medical Center