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Barnes-Jewish Hospital First in Area to Treat Peripheral Artery Disease with New Drug-Eluting Stent

St. Louis (PRWEB) September 24, 2013

Although drug-coated stents have been commonly used in coronary procedures, the technology is new to the treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Patrick Geraghty, MD, FACS, Washington University vascular surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, is the first in the regional area to implant a new drug-eluting stent to treat symptomatic blockages of leg arteries.

A new era for minimally invasive treatment of leg artery blockages:

One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has been diagnosed with PAD. The new drug-eluting stent delivers a significant advance in their treatment. In the past decade, physicians at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center have used drug-eluting stents in the small arteries of the heart with excellent results.

“At last, we can use the same technology to dramatically improve the outcomes of stent placement in the thigh artery (also known as the superficial femoral artery or SFA), the most common location of blockages due to PAD,” says Dr. Geraghty.

The stents that were previously used to treat these blockages suffered from a significant failure rate during the first few years after implantation. This failure was caused by reactive scarring that would obstruct blood flow in the stented artery. This new stent slowly releases a drug, paclitaxel, into the surrounding arterial wall, greatly reducing the scarring process.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performs rigorous testing before these new devices are granted approval for patient use,” says Dr. Geraghty. “As one part of the FDA approval testing, the drug-eluting stent was compared to a stent that was constructed in an identical fashion, except that it did not release paclitaxel. Not only did the drug-eluting stent diminish the rate of stent failure, but that beneficial result was sustained over three years of follow-up. In fact, three years after the initial procedure, stent failure was reduced by more than 50 percent in patients who received the drug-eluting stent. That’s a game-changer.”

Walking without pain:

“The sustained improvement in stent patency makes this ideal for the treatment of claudication,” says Dr. Geraghty. “Claudication occurs when thigh artery blockages cause the leg muscles to rapidly tire and become sore with walking. Our first line of therapy is medical management and structured exercise. If patients do not respond to those simple measures, use of the drug-eluting stent will allow us to restore their ability to walk, while reducing their risk for needing repeat interventions.”

The device is implanted in the artery using a slender catheter that is introduced at the groin area. This outpatient procedure does not require a surgical incision or general anesthetic.

Preventing amputation:

In critical limb ischemia (CLI) patients, leg blood flow is reduced to the point that patients experience constant foot pain, ischemic sores and are at high risk for amputation.

“We’re excited about the use of this new technology as part of our treatment for CLI patients. These are patients with more severe artery blockages,” says Dr. Geraghty. “We specialize in the complex care that these patients require, and I’ve already treated CLI patients successfully with this new device. It’s a valuable tool in our efforts to reduce the number of amputations in the St. Louis region."

Barnes-Jewish Hospital is the only hospital in the region currently offering this device for the treatment of PAD.

The Zilver PTX stent, made by Cook Medical, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Nov. 15, 2012.

For more information about the treatment of peripheral artery disease, call 855-45-HEART.


Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a 1,315 bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. The hospital has a 1,763 member medical staff, with many recognized as "Best Doctors in America." Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 13 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is also consistently ranked as one of America’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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