The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a device that opens arteries in patients suffering from peripheral artery disease.
The Medtronic device that uses a balloon coated with a drug to open closed arteries. A similar procedure is already used to treat heart disease.
"The introduction of drug-coated balloons represents a significant breakthrough that might establish a new standard of care with its potential to change the way we treat peripheral artery disease in the leg," said Dr. Michael R. Jaff, chair of vascular medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, who participated in the studies that led to the new device`s FDA approval.
One in every 20 Americans has PAD, a painful condition that inhibits walking and is caused by atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries of the legs. PAD is also is associated with a four-to-five fold increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
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