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Metro Health Pioneers New Treatment Designed to Avoid Limb Amputation

Posted: August 17, 2012

Metro Health today announced that the physician team at Metro Heart and Vascular has pioneered a new treatment believed to be the first of its kind in the world designed to help patients avoid amputation of the legs and feet.

The new procedure, named the TAMI Technique or Tibio-Pedal Arterial Minimally Invasive Retrograde Revascularization Technique, allows physicians to access tiny arteries in the feet in order to re-establish blood flow that has been blocked by plaque. Using TAMI, doctors are able to insert balloons, stents and drilling devices to remove plaque that builds up preventing proper blood flow.

“The incidence of peripheral artery disease is exploding, in part because of the growing rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity,” said Dr. Jihad Mustapha, Metro Health director of endovascular intervention and cardiovascular research, who created the TAMI procedure. “Long term peripheral artery disease leads to critical limb ischemia. Once patients have CLI, their risk of amputation is dramatically increased – and with it comes the increased likelihood of death within two years. Our goal is to prevent amputation and to keep patients moving.

“Unlike traditional procedures to treat PAD, TAMI allows us to re-establish blood flow in patients who cannot lay flat for other procedures. It’s ideal for patients with groin access complications and acute kidney injury. The procedure allows patients to ambulate significantly faster, often within 90 minutes of treatment, than those who are treated with traditional methods.”

The new procedure also minimizes radiation exposure for the patient and physician and allows for easier arterial sheath placement. Lowering the risk of complications and reducing radiation exposure makes the procedure safer for the patient and the physician.

Metro Health physicians were the first in the nation to perform this procedure. Mustapha and his team conceived TAMI when confronted with patients for whom traditional treatments posed too great a risk for complications. They built on traditional techniques and added ultrasound guidance in order to access the small blood vessels in the lower leg.

Since pioneering the technique, the Metro Heart and Vascular physician team has begun teaching this approach to physicians around the country. It was introduced at last week’s AMP Symposium in Chicago. The AMP Symposium is a national meeting of more than 400 physicians led by Mustapha focusing on amputation prevention.

More than 17 million people suffer from peripheral artery disease, or PAD, in the United States, which is caused by the accumulation of plaque in peripheral arteries — commonly the pelvis or leg — reducing blood flow. Symptoms include leg pain when walking or at rest, and tissue loss that can lead to limb amputation. Many patients with PAD are affected by diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or renal insufficiency.

Click here to learn more from Metro Heart & Vascular physicians and view a patient’s story.

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