Minimally invasive procedures used to open blocked or narrowed non-cardiac arteries throughout the body. Peripheral interventions use catheters (thin, flexible tubes) to deliver various treatments to open blocked or narrowed arteries. The catheter is generally inserted through a small incision in the skin and threaded to the area of the blockage. Common peripheral interventions include:
- Atherectomy: A procedure to clear blocked arteries using a catheter with a blade attached to the tip that scrapes away the plaque (hardened fatty deposits) to restore blood flow.
- Balloon Angioplasty With or Without Stent Placement: In balloon angioplasty, a tiny balloon attached to the tip of a catheter is delivered to the site of the blocked artery, where the balloon is inflated, opening the vessel. Depending on the condition of the artery, a stent (thin mesh tube) may be inserted to keep the artery open.
- Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy (or cold therapy) for peripheral arterial disease is similar to balloon angioplasty, except that the balloon is inflated with nitrous oxide instead of saline. The nitrous oxide causes the temperature of the balloon’s exterior to drop to a level that freezes and breaks up the debris blocking the vessel.
- Laser Excision: Excimer Laser Procedures: In excimer procedures, a laser catheter (thin, flexible tube) is used to “vaporize” arterial blockages.
- Rotational Atherectomy: A procedure to clear blocked arteries using a catheter with a tiny drill bit attached to the tip that clears a path through the plaque (hardened fatty deposits) to restore blood flow.