Published on July 18, 2016

Genesis Team First In U.S. To Use New Stent

First in the US to Use New Stent
Dr. Nicolas Shammas and a catheterization team at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street inserted a new vein stent for the first time in the United States on Thursday, July 14.

Before Thursday at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Shammas said he would have used a stent designed for heart procedures and adapted it for use to open blood flow in the leg vein. Instead he became the first cardiologist in the U.S. to use the Bard Venovo venous stent specifically designed for leg veins.

Shammas was the third cardiologist in the world to use the Venova scaffolding in a clinical trial.

Julie Huffer

Julie Huffer of Bettendorf
was the first patient in the
U.S. to receive the Bard
Venovo venous stent

Julie Huffer, 43, of Bettendorf was the first patient.

She explained that she woke up on a morning last July with a left ankle "that looked like it had a doughnut around it.''

Several conditions were ruled out before Julie had an appointment with Dr. Shammas of Cardiovascular Medicine PC. He told Julie he was almost certain he knew what the problem was. He diagnosed compression of a vein in her left leg and reduced blood flow, causing the pain and swelling.

Following the minimally invasive procedure on Thursday, Shammas said Julie should notice improvement in her symptoms.

"It was 95 percent restricted,'' Julie said of the vein’s blood flow a few hours after the procedure. "It already feels different to me. I was willing to do anything to get rid of the pain and swelling. Dr. Shammas said I would be a good candidate for this study and I wanted to do it. Studies like this are important for future patients.”

The past year has been a busy one for Julie. She and her husband, Frank, were married in October and have three children contributing to a hectic life. Because of the pain and swelling, Julie said she was sometimes challenged by routine day-to-day activities.

“I'm looking forward to getting back to feeling like myself again" said Julie.

By Friday when she was discharged after one night from the hospital, Julie reported that her leg was feeling much better.

Shammas said the Venovo stent is the first designed specifically for opening leg veins. He said a range of sizes is available and the stent is flexible and should adhere well to leg veins.

"What we have been doing, using heart stents for leg veins, was not ideal. The procedure went perfectly,'' Shammas said. "We're hopeful Julie will have a lot of relief from the swelling and pain.''

Reduced flow in leg veins can also cause ulcers and potentially dangerous clotting. Shammas said the condition is common.

Shammas has spent 25 years participating in research. Innovation is a culture within Cardiovascular Medicine PC and the Genesis Heart Institute. Genesis patients have access to a number of clinical trials and new techniques close to home.

Dr. Shammas has published more than 200 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters and presented at national and international meetings including the Middle East, Europe, and China. He has served as a reviewer and on the editorial board of several peer-reviewed journals. He has participated in more than 125 multi-center clinical trials.

Use of the Venovo stent is part of a research study. Outcomes from use of the device are unproven and the device is not yet approved for general use in the United States. Some patients may not meet guidelines for use of the stent.  It is unknown whether patients will experience different or improved results compared to the use of devices and procedures now approved.

Please note that this is a research study, and we don't entirely know if this will have a better outcome for the patient compared to current methods. Regardless of what we learn from this study, the results will benefit our patients in the future.

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