Skip to Content

Published on November 13, 2014

Drug Coated Balloon Promises to Keep People on Their Feet Longer

Alamance Regional Medical Center is first in the state to use the device to treat peripheral vascular disease.

 

Greensboro— Stevie Gilliam doesn’t take walking for granted anymore. “My leg used to just hurt and swell, even if I walked only a short distance,” says Gilliam. “It got to the point where I didn’t want to walk at all.”

Going for a walk is no longer a problem thanks to a new treatment at Alamance Regional Medical Center. Gilliam was diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease or PAD. He came to Alamance Regional Medical Center and became one of the first people in the state to be treated with a Lutonix® coated balloon catheter. The device was just approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration last month, and Alamance Regional Medical Center was first in the state to use it.

“Peripheral vascular disease happens when a blood vessel in the arms or legs narrows due to a build-up of plaque—much like the process that often happens in the heart,” says Gregory Schnier, MD, board-certified vascular surgeon with Alamance Vein and Vascular Surgery. This reduction in the flow of blood can lead to pain, swelling, numbness in the legs or feet, and leg cramps. One treatment option is to return the flow of blood to the affected leg muscles. “We inflate a small balloon in the blood vessel to push the narrow area wide once more. Sometimes we insert a wire-mesh tube, called a stent, to try and keep the area open. But just like in heart work, we worry about the vessel narrowing again.”

The Lutonix balloon catheter is built to prevent the vessel from narrowing again. It is coated with a medication designed to stop the narrowing that can send patients back for repeat procedures. “The new balloon has the potential to result in fewer interventions, fewer stents and longer lasting interventions for patients with PAD,” says Schnier. “We’re able to provide state-of-the-art care right here close to home for the people in our community.”

Wellness Matters

Health tips and wellness videos from Cone Health providers.

  • Chicken Bruschetta Sandwich

    Summer Grilling Recipe: Chicken Bruschetta Sandwich

    An Italian twist on a grilled chicken sandwich with the flavors of a traditional tomato, basil and garlic bruschetta topping.
    August 23, 2019
  • Teen vaping

    Is Your Teen Vaping? Here's Why They Shouldn't

    E-cigarettes are the most popular type of tobacco product for youth. They are easy to get and even easier to hide. Here are the effects that vaping has on them.
    August 22, 2019
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis

    "We're Not Going to Give Up": Living Well With Pulmonary Fibrosis

    Murali Ramaswamy, MD, and patient Fred Haley share Haley’s inspiring story. When Haley was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, there were limited treatments and no hope. But Fred chose Cone Health for his care and was soon enrolled in clinical trials. Today, Fred has beaten the odds thanks in part to the treatments he helped pioneer. Joel Gallagher, MD, continues the discussion on lung health by sharing tips for managing asthma.
    August 19, 2019
  • Linking Vision and Learning: Eye Care Tips for Sharp Eyes

    Linking Vision and Learning: Eye Care Tips for Sharp Eyes

    This school year, kids will use many visual skills to learn. Vision problems impact your child's learning experience - help keep eyes sharp with these 5 eye care tips.
    August 19, 2019