Newer Iliac Artery Stents Prove To Be Safe, Effective & Life Prolonging

South Florida Interventional Radiologist Says Nearly 100% of Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Can Now Be Successfully Treated

Clogged leg arteries, or peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects up to 20% of Americans 65 or older.

William Julien, M.D., medical director of South Florida Vascular Associates says, “As the population ages that number is expected to climb even higher.” Aging, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are the key risk factors.

PAD often occurs in the iliac arteries, the main arteries which carry blood from the abdominal aorta to the legs and feet. Often, the first sign of iliac artery disease is leg cramps or pain when walking. In its most severe form, PAD can cause painful sores on a patient’s toes and feet. If left untreated, the blood circulation to the lower extremities will diminish causing ulcers that can become dry, gray or black, and eventually gangrenous, which can lead to amputation of a limb.

67 year-old Frank Bartilotta was forced to retire from the grocery business, in part because of PAD. “Life was miserable. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t walk any more. I even had to sit in a chair to shower. We went to Las Vegas on vacation and I couldn’t leave the hotel room because I couldn’t walk anywhere,” he says.

Unloading grocery trucks for years and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day took its toll. Bartilotta says, “My walking capability was only a couple of minutes at the most.”

His PAD was so severe, treatment required angioplasty and iliac stenting in both legs.

“Treating PAD with stents is not new. We’ve been doing it more than 20 years, says Dr. Julien, but the technique and the stents are more durable and better constructed these days.”
Mounting research confirms iliac stenting is safe, highly effective and life extending.

“Nearly 100-percent of all patients with PAD can be successfully treated,” says Dr. Julien. The procedure, which takes roughly up to 90 minutes and is performed with local anesthesia, is fairly simple and similar to placing stents in clogged arteries in other parts of the body. Dr. Julien says, “Most patients are usually up on their feet roughly two to six hours after the procedure and can immediately go back to normal activities.”

In Bartilotta’s case, the iliac stents originally put in place by another doctor were too small. Bartilotta was referred to Dr. Julien who fixed the problem by doing balloon angioplasty to open up the stents wider, replacing normal blood flow to his legs.

And it worked!

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