Reporters from ProPublica, an independent news organization that produces investigative journalism, are looking into the booming business around peripheral artery disease, a condition that afflicts 6.5 million Americans over age 40. It’s caused when fatty plaque builds up in the arteries, blocking blood flow to the legs. This leads to leg pain and numbness, especially when walking. The disease is fairly common, but patients may not even know they have it.
Experts say most treatments are perfectly safe. But there has been growing concern about one type of procedure—atherectomies—after researchers and doctors uncovered patterns of excessive and inappropriate use.
ProPublica has learned that some doctors may be taking advantage of high reimbursement rates and prescribing aggressive treatments even when they aren’t necessary. This could lead to a higher risk of complications, including limb amputation. (See ProPublica’s story on this here.)
To advance this reporting, the news organization now needs to connect with patients. That’s challenging because many people may not even know they have had an atherectomy. But, you might be able to help. Please fill out this form on ProPublica’s website if:
- You think you or someone you know has peripheral artery disease and may have had a leg procedure like an atherectomy, stent, or angioplasty/balloon. (If you are unsure if you have had any of these procedures, ProPublica still wants to hear from you.)
- You are a healthcare worker and have a tip to share.
- You are a medical device representative and have a tip to share.
- You are a regulator overseeing these systems.
ProPublica is gathering these stories for the purposes of its reporting, and it will contact you if it wishes to publish any part of your story.