Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Unnecessary Atherectomies

Seeking Accountability and Understanding Unnecessary Atherectomy Risks with Schlesinger Law Office

At Schlesinger Law Office, we are deeply concerned about recent trends in the medical field, specifically the surge in allegations of potentially unnecessary atherectomy procedures. 

Our team is actively investigating this issue to hold healthcare providers accountable and ensure that patients are aware of the risks associated with unnecessary atherectomy treatments for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).

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Consumer Warning: Unnecessary Atherectomies

Recent shifts in Medicare financial policies may encourage physicians to conduct potentially unnecessary plaque-clearing procedures, posing serious risks such as heart attacks, infections, necrosis, or even necessitating leg amputations. 

A specific medical procedure called atherectomy, commonly utilized to treat Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), has drawn significant concern due to a notable surge in allegations of unwarranted interventions. 

Over the past decade, the frequency of these procedures has more than doubled, prompting the attention of the Schlesinger Law Office, which is actively investigating this trend and helping potential victims seeking legal recourse.

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Understanding Atherectomy

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) poses a prevalent health concern, impacting approximately 12 million individuals aged 40 years and older in the United States. This condition arises from the accumulation of arterial plaque, leading to atherosclerosis and potentially obstructing blood flow. Fortunately, the atherectomy procedure serves as an effective solution for alleviating these blockages.

The atherectomy procedure entails the elimination of plaque using a sharp blade or laser catheter. This technique empowers healthcare providers to excise or scrape away the rigid plaque surgically. In conjunction with the atherectomy procedure, angioplasty (ballooning) or stent placement may also be performed.

Types Of Atherectomy Procedures

  1. Excisional Atherectomy: In this method, a blade is utilized to cut the plaque in a single direction.
  2. Laser Ablation Atherectomy: This approach involves using a laser to vaporize and eliminate the plaque.
  3. Orbital Atherectomy: A spinning tool resembling sandpaper removes the plaque effectively.
  4. Rotational Atherectomy: Tiny blades are used to cut the plaque in a circular motion, facilitating its removal. Risks Associated with the Atherectomy Procedure

Associated Risks

While the atherectomy procedure offers advantages, it is not without risks. One potential risk is the possibility of a piece of plaque breaking off and becoming lodged in a smaller downstream blood vessel. Additionally, there are other potential risks and side effects associated with atherectomy, such as:

  1. Heart Attack: In some instances, a heart attack may be triggered.
  2. Necrosis: Tissue death, which can happen in rare cases.
  3. Re-blockage of an artery: Particularly common in smokers, where the artery may become blocked again.
  4. Infection: There is a risk of infection at the procedure site.
  5. Arrhythmias: Irregular heart rhythms may occur during or after the procedure.
  6. Dissection: There is a rare chance of an artery tearing during the procedure
  7. Embolization: This occurs when the removed plaque obstructs another artery.
  8. Perforation: There is a slight risk of artery perforation during the procedure.

Another potential concern during the procedure is the possibility of cutting too deep, which could lead to a tear or hole in the blood vessel. Studies have indicated that patients with peripheral artery disease who undergo these procedures may have a higher likelihood of amputations compared to those who opt not to undergo the operation. Therefore, it is essential for healthcare providers and patients to carefully consider the risks and benefits of the procedure and make informed decisions based on individual circumstances.

Healthcare providers and patients must weigh the potential risks against the benefits and make informed decisions about the suitability of atherectomy for each case.

WARNING by The Government:

The growing prevalence of unnecessary atherectomy procedures has drawn the government’s attention. The Department of Justice has intensified its efforts to address this issue, acting against doctors who conduct such procedures without proper justification. Simultaneously, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have warned medical professionals sternly. CMS explicitly conveyed that severe consequences await doctors found performing unnecessary atherectomy procedures, urging them to exercise caution and adhere to appropriate guidelines.