CCH becomes first N.C. hospital to place new stent for limb-threatening ischemia

Central Carolina Hospital has become the first hospital in North Carolina to place a new type of stent below the knee for patients with chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI).

The procedure was performed by Rajiv Swamy, MD, Chief of Medicine and interventional cardiologist at CCH, on May 23, using a new below-the-knee stent scaffolding system developed by Abbott Laboratories. CCH is one of a few national sites where the procedure is being done.

“This new stent is a tremendous advancement for patients with chronic limb-threatening ischemia, or CLTI,” Dr. Swamy said. “CLTI is a serious condition caused by lack of blood flow and oxygen to the limbs. Although it is rare, uncontrolled peripheral artery disease can lead to CLTI.”

“This is a significant medical innovation for the benefit of our patients,” said Dave Santoemma, Chief Executive Officer for CCH. “Being the first hospital in the state demonstrates the leading-edge quality of care we are providing right here in Sanford and Lee County.”

Called the Esprit™ BTK (Below the Knee) System, the new stent is the first and only FDA-approved drug-eluting stent for CLTI, which is the most severe form of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Studies have shown this new treatment offers greater benefits than the current option of balloon angioplasty alone to open the blocked arteries in the leg and to keep the arteries open to prevent possible amputation of the patient’s limb.

The procedure is similar to the technique required to unblock arteries in the heart, but instead it is used below the knee to restore blood flow to the foot, with the goal of preventing amputation. The stent is placed in the artery immediately after a balloon angioplasty, supporting and preventing the vessel from reclosing.

As a drug-eluting stent, it releases a drug over the course of several months that promotes healing and keeps the artery open. The stent is a resorbable scaffolding system, so it is naturally resorbed into the body over time, like dissolving stitches, and is gone from the patient’s body in about three years, leaving only a healed artery behind.

For more information about the stent, visit

Contributed/Courtesy photo.

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