Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New drug coated balloon brings relief to patients with blocked leg arteries

University of Kansas Hospital

KANSAS CITY, KAN.—Patrick Clark loves to play golf.

But lately, he’s noticed it’s become harder and harder for him to walk the 18 holes without pain in his legs. He came to The University of Kansas Hospital, where Dr. Kamal Gupta, an interventional cardiologist, told Clark he had a severe blockage in the arteries of his legs.

“When I examined him, he had absolutely no pulses felt in his feet. He was in a situation where if it had progressed, he could have lost a toe or two,” said Gupta.

Clark suffers what’s known as Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), which if left untreated, could even lead to amputation of the legs or feet.

Clark did have a stent placed in the artery a couple of years ago to help keep the vessel open, but stents don’t always provide a long-term solution.

Dr. Gupta proposed a brand new technology for Clark called a drug coated balloon. In simple terms, a long and narrow balloon, coated with medicine designed to improve blood flow, is inserted directly into the artery and inflated for a couple of minutes.

Once the medicine is absorbed into the area of the blockage, the balloon is removed. It’s a simple procedure, where the patient is fully awake, and usually goes home later the same day or early the next day.

“It’s a world of difference, 100 percent better!” said Clark. “I can walk up steps now. I can walk without my legs hurting anymore. I can’t wait to get back out and walk the golf course again!”