Tri-City Medical Center has introduced the Zilver PTX drug-eluting peripheral stent — a self-expanding, small, metal, mesh tube that helps prevent the clogged artery from narrowing again. Courtesy photo

New artery treatment at Tri-City


OCEANSIDE — Patients suffering from peripheral artery disease — a blockage of theleg arteries — now have another option: a specially designed stent coated with a drug that

prevents the artery from re-narrowing and restores the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the

lower extremities.

Tri-City Medical Center is the only place in the Southwest United States that offers the device, approved in November by the FDA; only two other facilities in the nation perform the procedure using the new stent.

In early February, Dr. Richard Saxon began inserting the new stents into patients at Tri-City Medical Center. The stent – the Zilver PTX drug-eluting peripheral stent manufactured by Indiana-based Cook Medical – is a self-expanding, small metal, mesh tube whose outer surface is infused with the drug Paclitaxel. The drug, also used in cancer treatments, helps prevent the clogged artery from narrowing again (a condition known as restenosis).

Typical stents are constructed of bare metal and act as scaffolding for a compromised artery. While effective, they do not last as long as the Zilver PTX stents because they lack the drug coating. Additionally, when a stent is inserted, it causes damage to the artery. The body’s natural response is to heal the area, forming a scar, and triggering a re-narrowing of the artery. The Zilver PTX inhibits that scarring and keeps the artery clear.

The stents are an option for patients who have found medication, angioplasty, traditional stents, even bypass surgery to be ineffective. While novel now, the new stent will quickly gain traction, much like its coronary counterpart did 10 years ago, said Saxon, who has been involved for the last several years in clinical trials of the Zilver PTX.

“It means patients who have severe leg pain or non-healing wounds and need arteries reopened have another tool,” Saxon said.

The peripheral stent is particularly helpful for patients with diabetes, who accounted for half of the participants in the trials, Saxon said.

Roughly 478 patients were enrolled in a research/clinical trial; at the end of three years, 80 percent did not need another intervention, said Mike Schultz of Cook Medical.

The insertion of the stent is done during an outpatient procedure and a patient typically

recovers in a few days. For more information, visit