At Platte Valley Medical Center, Robert Canterbury became the first patient in Colorado—and one of the first in the nation—to receive a groundbreaking new surgical procedure that injects clot-dissolving medicine directly into diseased arteries.
“I was having trouble walking because of the pain in my legs,” said patient and Northglenn resident Robert Canterbury. “And strangely, I also started losing some hair on my legs. I just thought it was from my diabetes and nerve damage. I had no idea how serious it was.”
Shortly after his first doctor’s appointment, Robert learned he had Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), a serious and common condition associated with a four-to five-fold increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Over the next two years, Robert had multiple surgeries to clear severe blockages and restore blood flow in the arteries of both legs. Unfortunately, scar tissue built up and blocked the arteries each time. With few other interventional options available, Robert was hopeful to learn about a new procedure for PAD.
“My previous doctor tried to repair the arteries in my left leg, but couldn’t because there was so much scar tissue. Then I was referred to Dr. Khan at Platte Valley Medical Center,” explains Robert. “I’m so happy I met Dr. Khan. He is great; he knows what he’s doing and has that special personal touch. When he told me about the new procedure, I was ecstatic.”
In February, Robert became the first patient in Colorado and one of the first in the nation to receive a new minimally-invasive procedure that injects clot-busting medicine right into the diseased arteries. The procedure was performed by Interventional Cardiologist Qaisar Khan, M.D. in Platte Valley Medical Center’s Heart Cath Lab. Dr. Khan used a drug-coated balloon recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat advanced PAD.
Drug-coated balloons are designed to help restore blood flow by reopening blocked arteries and delivering a medication to the artery wall that clinical studies have shown helps keep the artery open longer than other available therapies. During the procedure, an inflated balloon pushes the plaque away to create a channel for blood flow and the medication on the balloon surface is absorbed into the artery wall. The balloon is then removed with only the medication left behind.
“At Platte Valley Medical Center, we embrace and adapt to the latest technology very quickly,” says Dr. Khan. “We were the first in the state of Colorado to implant a cardiac rhythm monitor, and now are the first in the state to use the drug-eluting balloon to help patients in our community.”
“While technology plays an important role in treating advanced cardiovascular conditions, I believe our exceptional clinical team from our Cath Lab and Intensive Care Unit is equally significant,” explains PVMC’s Chief Operating Officer Kurt Gensert. “They are highly skilled and prepared to treat and care for some of the most severe illnesses our patients face.”
Prior to the procedure, Robert’s arteries in his left leg were 100% blocked. “The nurse couldn’t find a pulse on my left foot using a Doppler,” he said. “After the procedure, the blood flow was fully restored. My nurse could feel the pulse with his bare hands through my socks!”
About Peripheral Arterial Disease
Although it affects an estimated eight to 12 million people in the U.S., only 25% of adults are aware of the disease and how dangerous it can be. PAD is a debilitating disease that occurs when arteries become narrowed or blocked by plaque build-up, restricting blood flow. PAD commonly affects arteries in the upper legs and can cause recurrent and painful muscle cramping in the thigh and/or upper calf. The pain can be described as dull, causing heaviness or tightness in the muscles, but often will stop when the person is at rest. Experiencing pain, even while at rest or while sleeping, is a sign of a more severe disease.
If not properly treated, PAD can lead to life-threatening complications. PAD in the legs is also often connected to health conditions in other parts of the body, especially in the heart. If you think you have symptoms of PAD, talk to your doctor learn more about treatment options.