Pantheris – Cholesterol Plaque removing Machine

A high cholesterol level magnifies the risks of heart disease and stroke, and the statistics associated with it are staggering. Globally, a third of heart diseases are attributed to high cholesterol, which has caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths and 29.7 million disabilities as per the last available data from the WHO. To give a better insight into the complex situation, consider this example: one out of every four deaths in America can be traced back to heart disease arising from cholesterol.

Though heart disease could include a wide range of heart-related ailments, it generally refers to a condition where plaque (a material comprised of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, etc.) builds up inside the walls of the arteries, thereby decreasing and eventually blocking the flow of blood, a situation which can result in a stroke. This scenario is called Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). The blood flow blocks occurring to the heart and even to the limbs may often be dismissed as normal signs of ageing. Such other symptoms of PAD include painful cramping, numbness, or discolouration in the legs or feet. PAD can become intensely severe and troublesome to manage with traditional treatments, thus making patients and physicians often resort to invasive bypass surgeries. This can result in even bigger health risks and recoveries that are longer and more painful. In worst cases, patients may face amputation too.

Thus, as part of a larger effort to lower the problems associated with plaque build-up, the FDA, US, recently approved a new device – the Pantheris, which enables surgeons to not only see the insides of blood vessels, but also actually remove dangerous plaque, without doing any damage to the blood vessels themselves – a process called Atherectomy. Developed by a Californian company ‘Avinger’, has a built-in camera that lets doctors see arteries in real-time which then allows them to drive off the plaque with a higher precision than ever before.

“Atherectomy is a proven treatment that relieves pain and restores blood flow, and Pantheris has been eagerly anticipated in the clinical community because it is a leap forward in atherectomy technology compared to what we have had in the past,” said Thomas Davis, M.D., of St. John Hospital and Medical Centre in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. “Now, for the first time, we are able to see exactly where we are removing the plaque and are better able to leave the healthy artery alone…”

References:

  • This Machine Could Remove Plaque From Your Arteries in Minutes, July 2016, Science Alert
  • New medical device lets doctors see inside arteries and remove dangerous plaque, March 2016, BGR
  • Global Health Observatory (GHO) data – Raise Cholesterol, WHO