Date: 9/11/2007

Community Hospital is first in Chicagoland, and among the first in the country to offer new treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease

Community Hospital in Munster, Ind. is the first in the Chicagoland area to use a newly approved FDA device for the treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Community Hospital was one of 20 sites in the United States where the device was used in a research trial, playing a pivotal role in demonstrating the potential safety and effectiveness of this new technology.

Community Hospital Cardiologist Prakash Makam, M.D., who served as the principal investigator in the research trial, was the first Chicago area physician to use the device known as the Diamondback 360™ Orbital Atherectomy System. This new technology enables a physician to “sand away” plaque, a fatty material that builds up on the inside walls of blood vessels.

PAD is a life-threatening condition in which this build-up of plaque causes the arteries to harden and narrow reducing blood flow in the legs. If this “heart attack of the legs” is allowed to progress, PAD can lead to Critical Limb Ischemia, which may result in amputation. People with PAD may also have hardened and narrowed arteries to the heart and brain and thus have an increase risk for a heart attack and stroke.

“In our use of this device during the investigational stage, we found the Diamondback system to be a good option to remove some of the hardest, most difficult plaque that had deposited below the knee,” said Makam, one of the country’s pioneering physicians dedicated to exploring interventional advances for the treatment of PAD.

“It is great to see our work come full circle from the research stage to today’s use as a newly approved treatment,” Makam said. “We are making real advances in the treatment of PAD that will lead to fewer amputations and a better quality of life for so many people.”

Orbital atherectomy is the latest technological advancement in the treatment of PAD. The procedure uses a small diamond coated crown designed to remove even the toughest kind of plaque without damaging the arteries. This offers new hope to patients with disease in small arteries, or those with plaque that has become hardened, calcified.

The treatment is a minimally invasive procedure; patients spend a night in an outpatient area of the hospital. The device is inserted into the patient’s leg artery through a tiny puncture made in the groin. A small catheter and guide wire are used to direct the device to the location of the plaque in the artery. The device received full FDA approval on Aug. 30, 2007.

Over the past two years, there have been new treatment options for P.A.D, and physicians at Community Hospital have been among the first to introduce many of them.

For more information on Community Healthcare System surgeons who treat P.A.D., call
219-836-3477 or toll-free 1-866-836-3477 or visit For more information on PAD or cardiovascular research trials, call Community Healthcare System’s Foundation for Cardiovascular Research at 219-852-6495.

Community Healthcare System is currently offering free screenings for PAD. To register for these screenings call 219-836-3477 or toll-free 1-866-836-3477.
• Thursday., Sept. 20, 2007 / 8 a.m. — noon. / St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago
• Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007 / 8 am. — 4 pm / Community Hospital Outpatient Centre, St. John.

Facts on Peripheral Arterial Disease

• Between 8 and 12 million Americans have PAD, National Institutes of Health
• Among adults age 65 and older, 12 to 20 percent may have PAD
• One in three people over the age of 50 with diabetes is likely to have PAD
• 60 percent of people who receive an amputation have never had a diagnostic angiogram to determine if blood flow could be restored.


The most common symptoms of PAD include one or more of these problems:
• Claudication, which is leg pain that occurs when walking or exercising and disappears when activity is stopped.
• Leg muscle fatigue, leg cramping, coldness in the lower legs and feet, or numbness.
• Foot or toe pain at rest that often disturbs sleep.
• Wounds on the feet or toes that are slow to heal.
• In severe cases of PAD, called Critical Limb Ischemia, the lack of blood flow to the extremity can lead to ulcers or sores that don’t heal.
• If ulcers or sores are left untreated, these non-healing wounds could lead to amputation of a toe, foot or leg.

PAD Risk Factors

The following risk factors can increase a person’s risk of having PAD:
• Smoking. Smoking is more closely related to developing PAD than any other risk factor. Smoking increases the risk of developing PAD three to five times.
• Age. The risk of PAD also increases with age. People over the age of 50 have a higher risk of PAD, and among adults age 65 and older, 12 to 20 percent may have PAD.
• Diabetes. One in three people over age 50 with diabetes is likely to have PAD.
• High blood pressure.
• Abnormal cholesterol levels.
• Personal history of heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke.
• Leg pain. Pain, cramps, a tired feeling or heaviness in the legs when exercising may be a sign of poor circulation in the legs, which may be caused by PAD.