Walk This Way: New Device Helps Symptoms of PAD

Joseph Wichman appreciates his ability to walk more than most people. A sudden encounter with peripheral artery disease (PAD) made the simple taskone we often take for grantedimpossible. Wichman remembers the experience vividly.

“We went to walk to our gate at the Detroit Airport and my leg tied up on me,” Wichman recalls. “It felt like a golf ball inside the muscle in my calf. I kept thinking I could walk it out, and everything would be okay.”

But the pain wouldn’t subside. Soon, Wichman had trouble walking even short distances, such as to the mailbox and back. Something wasn’t right.

A trip to the doctor’s office revealed that Wichman was suffering from PAD, a circulatory problem in which plaque narrows the arteries, reducing blood flow to the legs, heart and brain. Left untreated, PAD can lead to amputation. PAD is also associated with stroke and heart attack.

Fortunately, Wichman’s condition made him the ideal candidate for the VISION clinical trial, evaluating the Avinger Pantheris catheter and how it treats symptoms of PAD. The catheter allows vascular experts to see the inside arteries as they cut away the plaque that narrows them.

According to John Pigott, MD, FACS, a vascular surgeon at Jobst Vascular Institute at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, the Pantheris catheter is quite a leap in technology.

“For the first time ever, we have a laser light camera on the end of a device that we can extract the plaque. We can see exactly what we need to be removing.”

Dr. Pigott says the advantage of this technology equates to less complications. With the catheter, vascular surgeons can pinpoint the blockage with more accuracy and quickly restore blood flow through the arteries. Additionally, the patient’s healthy artery is left alone during the procedure.

Wichman is the first PAD patient in the country to enroll in the VISION clinical research study. He says the results have been great.

“Until you can’t walk, you can’t appreciate it. I can now walk and I feel good about it.”

To learn more about the procedure, watch our interview with Dr. Pigott and Wichman.

For more information, visit www.promedica.org.