SAN DIEGO, Calif. (March 10, 2009)Attempts to treat critical limb ischemia in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) patients with below-the-knee angioplasty are still thwarted by restenosis (the re-narrowing of the artery at the site of angioplasty or stenting), the need for repeat treatments and the continued progression of atherosclerotic disease, leading to tissue death (gangrene) and amputation. Interventional radiologists have been studying a potential solutionthe use of drug-eluting stentsand have found that these types of stents lessened the rate of repeat procedures to open these small arteries, according to results presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 34th Annual Scientific Meeting.
"This is encouraging news for PAD patients with critical limb ischemia. The smaller blood vessels below the knee are more difficult to treat due to their size (3 millimeters) and are more prone to reclog than larger vessels. The use of drug-eluting stents in the tiny infrapopliteal arteries of the leg may significantly impact their care," said Dimitris Karnabatidis, M.D., assistant professor of interventional radiology at Patras University Hospital in Rion, Greece. "Drug-eluting (or drug-coated) stents have emerged as a potential solution to the limitations of endovascular treatment of PAD patients with critical limb ischemia," he added. An interventional radiologist performs a balloon angioplasty to open a clogged blood vessel and then places a drug-eluting stent in that artery. The stent acts as scaffolding to hold the narrowed artery open. Drug-eluting stents slowly release a drug for several weeks to block cell proliferation or regrowth, thus inhibiting restenosis.
Researchers from a single center studied 103 patients in a double-arm prospective registry who had critical limb ischemia and who underwent infrapopliteal revascularization with angioplasty and placement of either a drug-eluting stent (with sirolimus, an immunosuppressant drug
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Society of Interventional Radiology