By: Jan Chait
A compression cuff called the ArtAssist, which increases blood flow to the lower limbs, reduces the need for amputation by more than half in selected users and is effective in treating arterial disease, says ACI Medical of San Marcos, California, which makes the medical device.
Diabetes is the most frequent cause of lower-limb amputations, with more than 92,000 performed each year, according to the American Diabetes Association. ACI Medical estimates the direct costs of a major amputation at between $20,000 and $60,000, compared to a fee of $1,200 for three months’ use of the compression cuff.
The ArtAssist, which provides a massage-like compression, is said to triple blood flow, which not only lowers the risk of amputation but also relieves symptoms of peripheral arterial disease, which include pain, cramps and a tired feeling in the calf or thigh that is triggered by walking.
ACI Medical says the ArtAssist is covered by most private insurance carriers. The company is in the process of obtaining coverage from Medicare and Medicaid.