Similar to a blockage you'd find in a clogged heart, Detroit Medical Center Dr. Mahir Elder took a vial full of plaque out of an artery in a patient's leg. The result of peripheral arterial disease.
"This is a very critical disease that is obstructing blood supply to the feet," said Dr. Elder.
Between 8 and 10 million people in the US have peripheral arterial disease. Every year it costs 200,000 their limbs.
Joe Kalishhas been struggling with P.A.D. for more than a decade.
"I'd walk from the bedroom to the living room and I had to sit down," said patient Joe Kalish. "My legs would just ache."
But recently Kalish took part in the Connect-Two Trial. Led in part by Dr. Elder. it's testing the Ocelot, a device giving doctors a new view inside vessels.
"It uses ultrasound technology as it swipes in a 360 degree motion and subsequently giving us a three dimensional image. It is a game changer because now we can identify the vessel anatomy while we're inside the vessel," said Dr. Elder.
The doctor says these images help him stay in the middle of the vessel while he shaves away the build up or blasts it with a laser. The more center he is, the better chances it won't close up again.
"The trial has shown that the patients are getting better results right away," Dr. Elder said.
As for Joe, his circulation's back and his pain is almost completely gone.
"It's great. It's like a child doing his first steps all over again That's how great it makes me feel."
The Connect Two Trial testing the Ocelot is now closed. But, while the technology awaits FDA approval, hospitals that took part in the study are allowed to continue treating patients with the Ocelot.
Patients interested in the Ocelot treatment can email Avinger, the company that makes the device at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out where the treatment is available.