New catheter lets doctors see inside arteries for first time and clear plaque

A new safer catheter design that allows cardiologists to see inside arteries for the first time and remove plaque from only diseased tissue has been used. The new image-guided device, Avinger’s Pantheris, allows doctors to see and remove plaque, clearing it out to restore blood flow.
The new technology treats patients suffering from the painful symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition caused by a build-up of plaque that blocks blood flow in the arteries of the legs and feet, preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the extremities. Patients with PAD frequently develop life threatening complications, including heart attack and stroke; in some severe cases, patients may even face amputation.
PAD affects nearly 20 million adults in the United States and more than 200 million globally.
“Peripheral artery disease greatly impacts quality of life, with patients experiencing cramping, numbness and discoloration of their extremities,” said Mitul Patel, MD, cardiologist at UC San Diego Health. “This new device is a significant step forward for the treatment of PAD with a more efficient approach for plaque removal and less radiation exposure to the doctor and patient.”