Mercy Health Offers Minimally-Invasive Remote Endarterectomy Procedure to Treat Femoral Artery Blockages

(CINCINNATI; February 3, 2014) - Mercy Health, which provides compassionate quality care in your neighborhood through its network of care, announces that vascular surgeons with Mercy Health are using new tools and technology to perform minimally invasive, remote endarterectomies to treat femoral artery blockages. Mercy Health Physicians and Vascular Surgeons Andrew Hearn, MD and Rick Roedersheimer, MD perform the procedure together and they may be the first physicians in Cincinnati to use these news tools enabling remote endarterectomies to treat femoral artery blockages.

A blocked femoral artery is the most common form of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and a patient’s chance of developing PVD increases with age. The narrowing of the artery that supplies blood to legs causes pain in one or both legs and when other treatment options including exercise and medication don’t work, surgery can provide relief.

An endarterectomy is a well-established procedure to remove plaque from blocked arteries. Because the femoral artery, which runs the length of the leg, is so long, however, traditional endarterectomies of this artery involve multiple incisions or one very long incision. This increases the patient’s risk for infection and requires a longer recovery period. Before the advent of the remote endarterectomy, patients had another treatment option - a femoral artery bypass – but this, too, carries a risk of infection and a concern over the bypasses’ long-term patency, or ability to stay open.

“Thanks to these specially designed new instruments, we can now perform the endarterectomy with increased precision through a single incision. We recently removed a 35-centimeter-long plaque from a patient’s femoral artery using this procedure,” says Dr. Roedersheimer.

“The remote endarterectomy procedure gives us a new option for patients with femoral artery blockages and because it’s minimally invasive, patients benefit from quicker recovery times, less need for medication and less risk of infection and other complications,” says Dr. Hearn.

During an endarterectomy, surgeons make small incision at the groin to access the femoral artery. Then they thread a tool called a dissector into the artery. The dissector removes the plaque buildup causing the blockage from the inside.

“It’s like taking a bottle brush to the artery,” says Dr. Hearn or “coring an apple, with the core representing the plaque,” adds Dr. Roedersheimer.

“We expect to find irregularities in the artery at the knee. The imaging quality in the new hybrid operating room at Mercy Health – West Hospital is so good, that part of the procedure is now much easier to navigate and complete,” says Dr. Roedersheimer.

If needed, the surgeons then place drug-eluting stents at the right places in the artery to reduce the chance of blockages coming back. Drs. Hearn and Roedersheimer can perform this procedure in Mercy Health – West Hospital’s hybrid operating room, a combination operating room and cath lab, using high-tech imaging fluoroscopy and X-ray guidance to place the stent perfectly.

The physicians note that the remote endarterectomy procedure can be particularly useful for diabetics who have bad circulation.

“Often, diabetics believe they have peripheral neuropathy, which causes deep pain the legs, but it could be peripheral vascular disease treatable by remote endarterectomy,” says Dr. Hearn. “If so, the procedure can restore normal circulation to the leg.”

They’ve already seen good results in patients undergoing the procedure.

Notes one patient who had the procedure before the holidays and is well on the way to recovery: “I had pains in my legs when I walked and walking was getting more and more difficult for me. My legs feel fine now. If this procedure is right for you, I’d say do it!”

Drs. Hearn and Roedersheimer use the latest innovation of remote endarterectomy devices referred to as MultiTasc tools for the procedure.

Drs. Hearn and Roedersheimer practice from Mercy Health - West General and Vascular Surgery, located at the new Mercy Health – West Hospital at 3300 Mercy Health Blvd., in Cincinnati, ZIP 45211. To find out more about the procedure or the physicians or to schedule an appointment, please call 513-961-4335.