Preventing limb amputation by replacing veins and arteries in patients with peripheral arterial disease

200 million patients… 20% of patients who cannot operate due to blockage of arteries due to kidney disease and high blood pressure

When thick gruel (plaque) builds up in an artery far from the heart (peripheral artery), the leg is in danger of being amputated. Catheterization to prevent this has been successfully attempted. [사진=게티이미지뱅크]

A catheter procedure has been successfully performed in the United States to help patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), who had to have their legs amputated due to complications such as diabetes, overcome the crisis by converting their veins into arteries.

A research team at the Harrington Cardiovascular Institute of Ohio State University in the U.S. used a catheter to convert a leg vein into an artery and restore blood flow, thereby preventing a patient with peripheral arterial disease from having a leg amputated, according to the American health media ‘Health Day’. The research team recently published the research results based on this in the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the study, three out of four patients with peripheral arterial disease who underwent a catheter procedure to change a vein into an artery healed the wound and kept the leg intact without amputation. The research team said that such an experimental, minimally invasive procedure, called ‘LimFlow’, was having good success. Minimally invasive means minimizing surgical operations and procedures such as cutting with a scalpel.

Dr. Mehdi Shishebo (Director, Harrington Cardiovascular Institute), the first author of the study, said, “Patients with peripheral arterial disease, who had to lose their legs in the knee area due to leg amputation, survived a major crisis with catheterization.” He added, “About 20 to 30% of these patients are so severe and calcified that they often have to amputate their legs because it is difficult to bypass or access to the blood vessel.”

Arteries are blood vessels that carry clean blood from the heart throughout the body. Complications such as diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity, as well as when the arteries far from the heart (peripheral arteries) are narrowed or clogged due to smoking and aging cause blood circulation disorders. Severe pain, numbness, and numbness mainly appear in the legs, and areas with poor blood circulation become pale or bluish. If this condition continues, even if there is a small wound or ulcer on the leg, the tissue will die and the leg will have to be amputated.

There are about 200 million people with peripheral arterial disease worldwide. In the United States alone, about 10 million people are affected by the disease, and about 185,000 are amputated each year. More than 500 people per day. It is estimated that by 2050, about 3.6 million people will have to live with limb injuries.

The lymflow procedure is bringing new hope to desperate PAD patients with incurable blockages in the lower extremity arteries (atherosclerosis) by opening the arteries with an arterial bypass or stent. There are few complications or side effects. There is only slight swelling. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering official approval of the procedure.

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