Treating peripheral artery disease (PAD) has been described as a frustrating experience for clinicians and patients alike, as existing modalities have proven to be of limited effectiveness. Now, researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center are embarking on a 5-year investigation of one of the most common approaches, investigating why it often fails, and how it can be improved. Angioplasty and stenting have become increasingly popular treatments for PAD over the past decade, but, according to the researchers, many patients who receive the procedure often require repeat operations in as little as 1 or 2 years.
PAD reduces blood flow in leg arteries, resulting in pain, numbness, and problems with mobility. Risk factors include diabetes, obesity, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and aging. Severe cases may result in the need for amputation. Stenting, a minimally invasive procedure requiring only brief hospitalizations, has been proven to work effectively to keep arteries open in the heart, but is much less successful in arteries in the legs. In the study, researchers will seek to improve the stents and to individualize the device and the procedure to individual patients. They will be analyzing how stents are inserted into the artery and how they affect the arterial wall when walking.
Watch an interview with Dr. Michael M. Bottros: PAD in Diabetics.
Link to a Diabetes & PAD slide presentation.
Read a news story about the planned research here.