Published on October 20, 2021

NMMC Implants New Drug-Eluting Stent for Blocked Vessels in Legs

drug-eluting stent artTUPELO, Mississippi—Interventional cardiologist Barry Bertolet, M.D., recently implanted a new drug-eluting stent at North Mississippi Medical Center to treat plaque that has built up in arteries and is blocking blood flow to legs and feet.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects the blood vessels in areas outside the heart—often, the arteries that send blood to the legs and arms. People with peripheral artery disease (PAD) have a higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke. PAD causes leg pain and can lead to foot ulcers, gangrene and even loss of a limb. Lifestyle changes can help stop the progression of PAD, but when lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough, doctors have new technology to get blood flowing to lower extremities again.

A drug-eluting stent can be placed into a narrowed artery to hold it open and slowly release a drug to help prevent further plaque buildup. Doctors have used drug-eluting stents for years for heart patients and in recent years for PAD patients, and Dr. Bertolet says the new Eluvia drug-eluting stent is showing great promise. “When compared with regular stents and other drug-eluting stents, this one has shown to be superior,” he says. “We will use the Eluvia stent in critical blockages in the thigh or knee that are causing pain when the person walks or has resulted in a non-healing wound.”

While all stents work well initially, Dr. Bertolet says their effectiveness tends to wane over time. “This new stent has a 92% primary patency rate, which means within a year the individuals’ artery is still wide open,” he explains. “This is best in class right now.”

NMMC is the only hospital in north Mississippi to offer the Eluvia drug-eluting stent. “Most patients can go home the same day we implant the stent,” Dr. Bertolet says. “Recovery time is short—less than 48 hours—and the person has no restrictions after that.”

At NMMC, the stents are being implanted by interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeons. For more information, visit www.nmhs.net/heart-vascular or call 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).

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