Baton Rouge General is First Site of Safer, FDA-Approved Treatment for Diseased Arteries

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new, safer, more thorough approach to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD). The worldwide clinical trial to treat PAD with Avinger’s next generation of the Pantheris lumivascular atherectomy system began in March of 2017 with vascular surgeon Dr. Glen Schwartzberg at Baton Rouge General (BRG).

PAD occurs when plaque builds up in arteries, limiting blood flow to the legs and feet. The disease affects approximately 20 million adults in the United States and more than 200 million people globally – ranking as the leading cause of amputation in people age 50 and older. Its symptoms are frequently dismissed as normal signs of aging, including painful cramping, numbness, or discoloration in the legs or feet. However, when plaque is cleared from PAD patients’ arteries, blood flow returns to a normal rate and reduces their risk of amputation.

For more than a decade, Schwartzberg and BRG have led the way in plaque removal technology – from relying on balloons and X-ray images, to progressively improving the stents they used, to adopting Avinger’s advanced imaging system that offers a better view when clearing plaque. Avinger’s newest version of that advanced imaging system is designed to reduce surgical time and remove plaque more efficiently and thoroughly. Last year, Schwartzberg was selected to begin the clinical trial of the next-generation system, incorporating the advanced imaging features with revisions that add proficiency to the tool.

“Combining Avinger’s 360-degree view of arteries with the new version of the plaque removal tool makes a huge difference in accurately treating hardened arteries,” said Schwartzberg. “Now we can offer a safer, more thorough option for PAD patients, giving them hope for a better quality of life.”

Surgeons without access to the next-generation Pantheris technology rely on two-dimensional X-rays and their sense of touch to guide tools when trying to clear arteries. Pantheris offers the only technology that combines real-time imaging with highly effective catheters to treat PAD, allowing surgeons to see arteries real-time while navigating devices around blood vessels to more accurately remove plaque.