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Emory first in Georgia to offer new image-guided treatment for PAD

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Alysia Satchel
Senior Manager, Media Relations

Emory Johns Creek Hospital is the first in Georgia, and among the first in the United States, to offer a unique device to treat peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a condition caused by the narrowing or blockage of the peripheral arteries – most commonly in the legs.

The FDA-approved device, known as Pantheris, is an imaged-guided therapy that allows physicians to see and remove plaque simultaneously during an atherectomy. This procedure involves cutting plaque away from the artery and eliminating it to restore blood flow.

Pantheris uses real-time optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging on a therapeutic catheter, similar to a small camera on the tip of the device. It allows physicians to better view and remove plaque. The improved visibility also reduces the risk of damage to the artery walls, which can result in scarring and eventual re-narrowing of the artery, known as restenosis.

“In the past we have had to rely solely on X-rays, as well as ‘touch and feel’ to guide our tools as we remove plaque from PAD patients,” says Emory Healthcare cardiologist Gregory Robertson, MD, associate professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.

Robertson utilized the first Pantheris device in Georgia on March 11 at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.

“For the first time, Avinger’s Pantheris allows us to see from the inside of the artery during an atherectomy procedure, allowing for safer, more precise removal of the plaque,” says Robertson.

According to Robertson, Pantheris may potentially reduce the need for follow-up procedures and stents. The radiation-free device could also help minimize radiation exposure to clinicians and patients by decreasing the use of fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray imaging exam.

According to the American Heart Association, approximately 8 million people in the United States are living with PAD, including 12 to 20 percent of people older than age 60.

PAD patients usually experience symptoms including:

  • Leg pain that won’t go away after exercise
  • Foot or toe wounds that won’t heal or heal very slowly
  • Gangrene
  • Decrease in temperature of your lower leg or foot compared to the other leg

For more information on the Pantheris device, visit

To learn more about Emory Johns Creek Hospital cardiology services, visit

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