New Limb-Saving Laser Procedure Offered at Sentara CarePlex Hospital
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New Limb-Saving Laser Procedure Offered at Sentara CarePlex Hospital 

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Hampton, VA - November 14, 2005 - Clogged leg arteries, or Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), are the leading cause of limb amputation in the United States. But a new limb-saving laser procedure to restore blood flow to the legs and feet caused by clogged arteries is now available at Sentara CarePlex Hospital.

It substantially minimizes the likelihood that a PAD patient will ever face the prospect of amputation and is a first of its kind to be offered on the Peninsula.

This technologically advanced procedure, known as CliRpathor Cool Laser Revascularization for Peripheral Artery Diseaseby Spectranetics, uses a cool excimer laser to vaporize blockages and restore blood flow. The entire procedure takes only a few hours to perform, followed by a one- to two-day recovery period. This is a significant advantage to PAD patients whose previous treatment option was invasive bypass surgery requiring a 10-day hospital stay and several weeks of post operative recovery.

Marc Glickman, M.D., director of vascular services for the Peninsula and Southside, is one of several vascular surgeons who are using this new procedure at Sentara CarePlex Hospital. Glickman, who is board certified in vascular surgery, says that this technological innovation offers substantial benefits to patients.

"There is an 85 percent success rate using this minimally invasive procedure versus a 50 percent success rate with surgery," Dr. Glickman said. "That means that patients have significant improvement in restoration of their circulation without all of the risk and complications associated with surgery."

With CliRpath, surgeons insert a needle in the groin that contains a small fiber optic catheter plugged into the excimer laser unit. This catheter is moved to the top of the blockage in the artery. There, it transmits short bursts of cool ultraviolet energy that vaporizes a small portion of the blockage. The laser catheter moves slowly through the blockage, one millimeter per second, until the entire blockage is cleared. Patients normally remain awake during the procedure and experience little discomfort.

Laser atherectomy, as this new procedure is called, is just one of the many techniques that we have been utilizing in the opening of blocked arteries at Sentara CarePlex Hospital, said Peter Moy, M.D.

"These newer approaches have allowed us to offer treatment to a much broader spectrum of patients who would otherwise not be considered candidates for surgery," Dr. Moy said.

PAD occurs when plaque and thrombus accumulate in the leg arteries, blocking blood flow. The condition, which affects 8 to 12 million Americans, causes pain in the legs, ulcers, wounds that will not heal or more serious complications. The most severe form of PAD, critical limb ischemia, leads to more than 100,000 toe, foot or leg amputations in the U.S. annually.

Those at greatest risk of developing PAD are people who:
Have diabetes
Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
Have a family history of heart disease.

This new technology provides immediate circulation improvement for appropriate patients.

Sentara CarePlex Hospital features 194 private rooms and is an advanced acute care facility with the latest technology in the industry including one of the areas first smart operating rooms and a campus-wide fiber optic backbone to support transfer of filmless, digital diagnostic images.

Sentara CarePlex Hospital also offers eICU, a highly advanced electronic monitoring system for intensive care patients. Other features include outpatient diagnostic imaging, advanced surgical capabilities, a hospitalist program, Cancer Institute, and of the states largest emergency department, in addition to the world-class vascular program.

Sentara Healthcare is a premier not-for-profit health care provider in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.

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