Wound Healing and the Prevention of Limb Amputation
Peripheral artery disease in the lower limbs can cause patients to have wounds or ulcers that won't heal. It may also lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. These conditions decrease blood flow and oxygen to the lower leg, ankle and foot. Left untreated, they may result in gangrene – when the tissue dies – and the need for limb amputation.
Early detection of poor circulation is the key to wound healing and preventing limb amputations. Physicians at the Interventional Institute at Holy Name Medical Center work to restore circulation and the flow of oxygen using minimally invasive procedures that clear a path to the wound and allow effective treatment.
Advanced Symptoms of Non-healing Wounds:
- A foot wound that does not show signs of healing in 2 – 4 weeks
- Persistent, increased pain in the area of the wound
- Discoloration of the wound near its edges, often a dark or bluish color
- Increased drainage from the wound
- Redness or swelling around or spreading away from the wound
- A foul odor coming from the wound
- Early gangrene (death of the tissue)
Some patients with PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and exercise while others can take medications. For those who need further treatment, Holy Name Medical Center’s Interventional Radiologists can perform minimally invasive procedures to increase blood flow.
Angioplasty, Stenting, and Atherectomy
Angioplasty, or opening up blocked blood vessels, was first used on patients with PAD. Interventional radiologists, using imaging for guidance, thread a catheter from the groin to the blocked vessel in the leg. They then inflate a balloon to open the vessel where it is narrowed or clogged. At times, the area is held open with a stent graft, a tiny metal cylinder covered with fabric, which remains permanently in place. New advances allow the use of medicated balloons and stents to improve healing.
Atherectomy involves threading a tiny catheter to the site of the blockage and then shaving or cutting the plaque from the artery wall and removing it.
These procedures have been shown to be successful when other treatment methods have failed.
Clinical Study for Advanced Peripheral Artery Disease
Holy Name Medical Center’s team of Interventional Radiologists is involved in many clinical trials for the advanced treatment of PAD. Currently, Holy Name is one of the first hospitals in the U.S., and only one of two in New Jersey, to participate in a groundbreaking clinical study, called STOP-PAD, which may help patients grow tiny blood vessels in their feet to provide better circulation. Advanced peripheral artery disease in the legs and feet may lead to wounds that don’t heal and eventually, limb amputation. STOP-PAD offers patients a chance for oxygen-rich blood to reach the feet and allow the repair process to continue.
Patients are injected with a gene therapy, called JVS-100, near the site of the non-healing wound, after physicians perform a minimally invasive procedure to open up the blockage. JVS-100 helps the body build tiny vessels for the blood to travel, a process that occurs naturally in most people without artery disease. The combination of clearing out the blockage plus the injected gene therapy should bring blood to the extremities.
This clinical trial, given Fast Track designation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), follows a previous study showing a majority of patients experienced less pain, a reduction in wound size and an improvement of their overall feeling of wellness.
For more information on this clinical trial, call 201-833-7268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.