REDWOOD CITY, CA / ACCESSWIRE / September 4, 2019 / Avinger, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVGR), a commercial-stage medical device company marketing the first and only intravascular image-guided, catheter-based system for diagnosis and treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), urges greater awareness for this disease state in support of PAD Awareness Month in September. Avinger plans to support PAD Awareness Month through the distribution of informational articles and content related to PAD throughout September, directed both at physicians and patients.
The Global Burden of Disease study estimates that 202 million adults worldwide have PAD, a higher prevalence than ischemic heart disease (154 million) and heart failure (64 million). In the United States alone, up to 20 million individuals are estimated to suffer from PAD, yet the condition is often under-recognized, under-diagnosed, and under-treated in part because many PAD patients are asymptomatic or dismiss their symptoms as normal age-related complications. The overall economic burden of the disease in the United States is estimated to be well over $200 billion per year, as compared to $148 billion for coronary disease.
Despite these staggering statistics, only about 25% of the general population is aware of the disease. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “The public does not know that PAD exists – until the disease has progressed to its final stages and opportunities to reduce the chances of decrements in quality of life, myocardial infarction and stroke, amputation, or death are lost.” Lack of awareness even exists among physicians, with only 49% of primary physicians treating patients with a prior diagnosis of PAD actually aware of it, despite documentation in medical records.
Dr. Jaafer Golzar, Avinger’s Chief Medical Officer and experienced interventional cardiologist who frequently treats PAD patients, commented, “Despite the enormous clinical and economic burden of PAD, lack of awareness from both the general population and physician community alike often results in lack of diagnosis or inappropriate treatment recommendations for PAD sufferers. I have seen patients that have been told that they have no other options but to live in pain for the rest of their lives or undergo a life-altering amputation, which is typically followed by an extremely high mortality rate. Many of these very same patients are treatable, can dramatically improve their quality of life, and avoid an amputation. While there is no easy solution to this national health epidemic, we can start with doing our part to raise awareness for this terrible disease.”
PAD stems from the narrowing or complete blockage of arteries in the pelvis or legs due to atherosclerosis, a progressive, degenerative, and complicated condition in which lipids, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood stream (collectively called “plaque”) build up inside the arterial walls. Restricted flow of oxygenated blood caused by atherosclerosis can lead to pain, tiredness, or numbness during physical activity or develop into critical limb ischemia (CLI), the severest form of the disease. Left untreated, CLI, can result in ulceration, infections, or gangrene in the feet and legs and eventually limb amputation or death. Studies have shown that the 5-year mortality rate for critical limb ischemia is 60%.
The risk factors of developing PAD include a genetic predisposition, diabetes, history of smoking, hypertension, physical inactivity, high cholesterol, obesity, and advanced age. The number of PAD patients is growing due to an aging population and an increasing prevalence of risk factors among potential patients (including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension). PAD patients do have treatment options. For mild cases, lifestyle changes or drug therapy with cholesterol-lowering medicine, anti-coagulants, or blood pressure-lowering medications may be prescribed to hinder or reverse the progression of PAD. However, this form of treatment generally requires the patient to remain on drugs for the duration of their lives. Lifestyle changes may include the cessation of smoking, increased physical activity, or healthier eating habits, but these adjustments may be difficult for patients to sustain. For more advanced states of the disease, an interventionalist may first propose minimally-invasive endovascular procedures (in which treatment occurs from within the vessel) or surgical interventions such as bypass grafting. In more serious cases, PAD patients may undergo amputation, with an estimated 200,000 amputations related to PAD occurring in the U.S. every year.
Significant improvements have been made in recent years towards the treatment of peripheral artery disease that can help patients avoid amputation. For instance, Avinger has developed a more advanced minimally invasive technology to remove plaque from the blood vessel using onboard image-guidance, a procedure called Lumivascular atherectomy. Lumivascular technology allows physicians, for the first time ever, to see inside the artery during an atherectomy procedure by using an imaging modality called optical coherence tomography, or OCT, that is displayed on Avinger’s proprietary Lightbox console. Physicians performing atherectomy with other devices must rely solely on X-ray images as well as tactile feedback to guide their interventions while treating complicated arterial disease. With the Lumivascular approach, physicians can more accurately navigate their devices and treat PAD lesions, due to the real-time OCT images generated from inside the artery, without exposing healthcare workers and patients to the negative effects of ionizing radiation.
“At Avinger we are proud to partner with physicians leading the fight against PAD and are dedicated to providing advanced solutions for treating these patients that allow for effective and durable outcomes without requiring an amputation,” said Jeff Soinski Avinger’s President and CEO. “We will continue to offer resources to patients to educate themselves on this condition and encourage physicians and patients to seek less invasive options for treating this debilitating disease. There are viable alternatives, such as Lumivascular technology, that can help.”
About Avinger, Inc.
Avinger is a commercial-stage medical device company that designs and develops the first-ever image-guided, catheter-based system that diagnoses and treats patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is estimated to affect over 12 million people in the U.S. and over 200 million worldwide. Avinger is dedicated to radically changing the way vascular disease is treated through its Lumivascular platform, which currently consists of the Lightbox imaging console, the Ocelot family of chronic total occlusion (CTO) catheters, and the Pantheris® family of atherectomy devices. Avinger is based in Redwood City, California. For more information, please visit www.avinger.com.
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