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Published on March 23, 2016

MU Surgeon First in Missouri to Use New Technology to Treat Artery Disease

Image-guided procedure a minimally invasive option for treating peripheral artery disease

Todd Vogel, MD, chief of vascular surgery at University of Missouri Health Care, today, March 23, became the first surgeon in Missouri, and one of the first in the United States, to use new image-guided technology to treat peripheral artery disease.

The new minimally invasive procedure is a catheter-based system that allows physicians to see inside an artery and simultaneously remove plaque buildup.



“It’s the first time we’ve been able to visualize an artery from the inside to precisely guide the catheter and remove a blockage at the same time,” Vogel said. “Traditional catheter procedures rely on a combination of X-ray imaging, as well as touch and feel to locate the blockage. Then, if the catheter can be passed through the blockage, a stent is needed to keep the artery open. Now, we can pass through a blocked artery and remove the plaque buildup, which reduces the need for stenting to keep the artery open.”

Peripheral artery disease is a common circulatory problem in which plaque builds up inside arteries of the legs, blocking blood flow. The initial symptoms include leg pain or cramping when walking. The disease can progress to include leg pain at night while at rest. As the condition worsens, patients are not able to walk for long periods of time and often struggle to walk even short distances. Eventually, the disease can lead to gangrene of the foot or leg as the oxygen-starved tissue dies. Amputation of the limb is the only option once that level of damage occurs.

The new system available at MU Health Care uses imaging technology known as optical coherence tomography to capture real-time 3-D images from within an artery. Guided by this imaging system, physicians can precisely maneuver a catheter to the site of a blockage and remove it to restore blood flow.

“There are several other advantages to using this new system,” Vogel said. “Because the procedure is minimally invasive, we are able to decrease operative risks for those with additional complex medical conditions. Procedural times are shorter, and in most cases, patients don’t need general anesthesia. Recovery times also are shorter, and radiation exposure is minimized or completely eliminated because X-ray imaging is not needed.”

According to the American Heart Association, more than eight million Americans have peripheral artery disease. Often regarded as a sign of aging, most people are unaware of the severity of the disease, Vogel said.

“Amputation of a leg is a difficult decision that is made by more than 100,000 patients each year,” Vogel said. “The goal of using this new technology is to increase blood flow to the lower extremities to reduce the risk of amputation for patients.”

To learn more about peripheral arterial disease, its symptoms and treatments please visit

Download a high-resolution portrait of Todd Vogel, MD