Monday, February 15, 2010

Hunterdon Medical Center among first to use artery cleaning device

By: Hunterdon County Democrat

February 14, 2010, 11:06AM

Scott Collins, 45, of Lambertville visited Dr. Andrey Espinoza, interventional cardiologist at Hunterdon Medical Center, last summer in an act of desperation. After suffering from peripheral arterial disease for the past seven years, Collins had grown accustomed to the pain and numbness in his legs that prevented him from walking more than 50 yards without having to take a rest.
Once his legs reached 100% arterial blockage, Collins began to accept the idea that he would likely be a candidate for amputation.
Peripheral arterial disease occurs when plaque builds up on the inside walls of blood vessels, causing a blockage of blood flow to the extremities, and is often associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and aging.
After a short visit with Espinoza, Collins learned that a new device, Pathway Medical Technologie’s Jetstream, could fix his problem. Interventional Cardiologists at Hunterdon Medical Center is now treating patients using a newly FDA cleared device that clears away and removes potentially deadly artery clogging plaque in leg arteries for those suffering from peripheral arterial disease, a chronic condition that affects nearly 12 million Americans.
Collins came back for his procedure and the moment they finished their work, he knew that they had changed his life.
“I was still lying on the table, but I knew the procedure had worked,” Collins said. “My leg began to itch. I hadn’t felt anything in that leg for years.”
Working from his three-story home as an antique reseller is enjoyable again, Collins said, adding he has found freedom in what he deems his “new legs.”
“This treatment represents an innovative and minimally invasive solution to clear blockages in the peripheral arteries, restoring blood flow and effectively treating the disease without surgery,” explained Espinoza, who is the first physician to treat a patient using the device at Hunterdon Medical Center.
The Jetstream Atherectomy System is the first on the market capable of treating an entire spectrum of disease found in the PAD patient, including hard and soft plaque, calcium, thrombus and fibrotic lesions with consistent clinical results. The Jetstream catheter is equipped with tiny rotating blades and a vacuum that cuts through accumulated plaque in the legs and then vacuums away the debris left behind.
This treatment has the potential to reduce procedure time and minimize vessel trauma, which can mean fewer complications for patients. Removing the plaque that has been cut loose also minimizes the potential for that plaque to travel back through the leg’s arteries and cause another blockage.
PAD usually affects adults from age 60 to 80, but patients can be younger. Further, while people with elevated cholesterol, smokers or those with a history of heart disease can develop PAD, many people do not realize they have blocked arteries. Unfortunately, despite the large number of sufferers, traditionally invasive treatments for PAD, such as bypass surgery, coupled with a lack of consumer education, means that PAD is responsible for more than 150,000 leg amputations each year and only about 400,000 patients receive the endovascular intervention they need. In addition, many patients are poor surgical candidates for whom surgery can be life threatening.
Jetstream is now in use at more than 100 centers across the country, including New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, Cardiovascular Consultants of Washington in Seattle, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Atlanta and Leesburg Regional Hospital in Leesburg, Florida, and has been used to successfully treat more than 600 patients suffering from PAD to date.
Jetstream offers renewed hope for patients and the benefits of a minimally invasive treatment option, including faster recovery and decreased systemic complications.
For more information on cardiac services at Hunterdon Medical Center call Registered Nurse Nicole Camporeale, heart and vascular care coordinator at Hunterdon Medical Center, at 908-237-5440 or visit


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