The first patient in Louisiana to receive the first of its kind drug-coated stent says she is able to walk again without pain. That revolutionary procedure was performed here at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital by Heart & Vascular Center cardiologist, Dr. King White.
Walking around today with her husband of more than 60 years, Bettye Hebert says she is feeling great, especially compared to the leg pain she had two months ago. "It got really, really bad," she said, "I couldn't walk from my bathroom to my bedroom."
Hebert has peripheral artery disease (PAD), a narrowing of the arteries in the legs. Dr. White says the traditional treatments have been balloons and metal stents. "At first, we had bare metal stents and they work fairly well, but frequently when you put them in, you get a good result - but the blockage comes back," he said.
That was the case for Hebert, whose artery was blocked again after a balloon procedure. "Scar tissue forms and grows in through the stent and reblocks the artery," said Dr. White.
The same problem occurred in the heart, leading to the development of coated stents for cardiac patients. Now, that knowledge has been transferred to the creation of longer and wider drug-coated stents for the leg: the Zilver PTX stent, coated with paclitaxel. "It prevents growth of cells, so when you put it in the artery, the paclitaxel gets in the walls of the artery and prevents growth of tissue," said Dr. White.
From blocked to blood flow, the moment that the stent is opened up in the artery, you can see the blood flow normally again for Hebert. "It was so closed and then wide open," she said.
Dr. White was the principal investigator for Zilver PTX stents in clinical trials and the first in Louisiana to implant it into a patient after FDA approval in November 2012.
Hebert says she is thrilled to be a part of this treatment transformation. "It is just wonderful," she said, "it's been just great."
The long-term success of the stent is what Dr. White says sets this stent apart from the others. "We expect these patients to have long term success and be free of pain and be free of amputations," said Dr. White.
Clinical studies have shown that the drug-coated stent is 70 percent less likely to have a blockage again compared to a balloon and 40 percent less likely next to bare metal stents.
Two more local patients have now also received the drug-coated stents.