Mills-Peninsula Newsroom

Mills-Peninsula Announces New Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease

Image-Guided Atherectomy Device Helps Physicians See Inside Arteries

The Cardiovascular Department at Mills-Peninsula Health Services is one of the first in the United States to offer a new treatment recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide relief for patients suffering from the painful symptoms of peripheral artery disease, or PAD — a condition caused by a build-up of plaque that blocks blood flow in the arteries to the legs and feet.


Dirk Baumann, M.D.

Dirk Baumann, M.D. and Stephanie Lin, M.D., vascular surgeons at Mills-Peninsula, are two of the first physicians in the country using Avinger’s Pantheris™ lumivascular atherectomy system, the first-ever, image-guided atherectomy device for the treatment of PAD.

In the past, physicians have had to rely on X-ray and touch to guide their tools while they try to treat complicated arterial disease. Using optical coherence tomography (OCT), the Pantheris lumivascular technology allows physicians, for the first time ever, to see inside the artery in real time while they navigate through the artery to remove plaque and restore blood flow.

With the Pantheris device, physicians are able to see and remove plaque simultaneously and more precisely than ever before. For patients, this targeted treatment may reduce the risk of damage to the artery walls, which can result in aggressive scarring that greatly increases the risk of restenosis, or re-narrowing of the artery, and reduce the need for follow-up procedures and stents.

Stephanie Lin, M.D.

Stephanie Lin, M.D.

“Peripheral artery disease is a common, costly disease that greatly impacts quality of life, with patients experiencing lower extremity cramping, pain and sometimes non-healing wounds.” says Dr. Lin. “We are excited to use the Pantheris technology. It offers our patients a significant step forward in the treatment of the condition, enabling OCT-guided and physician-directed removal of the plaque that is the cause of the symptoms of PAD.”

Over the years, Mills-Peninsula’s cardiovascular specialists have partnered with a variety of Silicon Valley medical device companies to create, design and refine the latest cardiovascular technology. Working with Avinger’s founder and Pantheris inventor, Dr. John Simpson, Dr. Lin has helped test and fine-tune the Pantheris device. In 2015, Dr. Lin was the first to introduce OCT technology and the Avinger Ocelot catheter to the Bay Area region. The Ocelot catheter pioneered the use of optical technology to see the inside of a blood vessel, helping vascular interventionalists to better assess whether they are pushing against plaque or the artery wall and enable passage through chronically occluded arteries. The Avinger OCT equipment at Mills-Peninsula was fully funded by community philanthropy.

Clinical results confirm that the Pantheris technology is safe and effective: a 130-patient study showed a target lesion revascularization rate of just 8 percent. Further, not a single event of vessel perforation, clinically significant dissection or late aneurysm resulted from Pantheris. In addition, this radiation-free technology can minimize radiation exposure to clinicians and patients by decreasing use of fluoroscopy.

Peripheral artery disease affects nearly 20 million adults in the U.S.[i] and over 200 million people globally.[ii] Symptoms of PAD include painful cramping or pain in the legs or feet. PAD can become so severe and difficult to address with traditional treatments that patients and physicians often resort to invasive bypass surgeries, which can result in even higher health risks and lengthy, painful recoveries. In severe cases, patients often face amputation, the worst-case scenario associated with PAD.

About Mills-Peninsula Health Services
Founded in 1908, Mills-Peninsula Health Services is a Sutter Health affiliate providing top ranked, patient centered medical care and health care innovation at inpatient and outpatient facilities in Burlingame and San Mateo, California. For more information, visit | |

For more information, contact:
Shannon Hare
Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs
Sutter Health


[i] The Sage Group releases New Estimates for the United States Prevalence of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). The Sage Group. September 30, 2010.

[ii] Fowkes FG, Rudan D, Rudan I, et al. “Comparison of global estimates of prevalence and risk factors for peripheral artery disease in 2000 and 2010: a systematic review and analysis.” Lancet 2013; 382:1329.