FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- About 27 million people in North America and Europe alone suffer from peripheral arterial disease or PAD. The disease limits blood flow to leg muscles, which can make it difficult to walk. Now, doctors are testing out a new way to treat the condition, and many patients are already benefiting.
Working out on a treadmill? No sweat now for 71-year-old Mary Hammond. But a few months ago...
"I be walking through the mall and I couldn't walk anymore," Mary Hammond told ABC30.
Mary had peripheral arterial disease or PAD for short. It's caused by build-up in the artery walls.
"I thought I was just getting old and my veins were getting ugly in my feet and stuff like that," said Hammond.
Doctors inserted a flex stent into Hammond's leg. Like the name suggests, it's flexible and self-expanding. It won't close up, like other leg stents.
Charles Lambert, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute and Dr. Kiran C Patel Research Institute, and Professor of Medicine at University of Florida, explained, "Based upon preliminary information, it looks like it's going to be a quantum leap forward in terms of treating those vessels long term."
The blood vessel before the flex stent has lots of clots. After the flex stent is in, the clots are cleared, and the artery is smoother.
"We hope to see much better long-term patency or it will stay open longer because that's the principle problem in these vessels," explained Dr. Lambert.
Mary's problem seems to be solved.
"I can walk," said Hammond. "I can walk great. I can walk through the mall 10 times and my legs wouldn't hurt me at all."
PAD can also be treated with exercise, medicines and bypass surgery in the legs. The flex stent is currently in the study phase right now.
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