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First Procedure in North Bay Using Recently FDA Cleared Ocelot System By Avinger Performed At St. Helena Hospital Napa Valley


Media Contact: Joshua Cowan, Northern California Network

Phone:  967-7515 Email:


Napa Valley, CA. Continuing its tradition of leadership in cardiovascular care, Adventist Heart Institute at St. Helena Hospital, Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Andreas Sakopoulos and Cardiologist Dr. Stewart Allen, performed the first procedure in the North Bay using the recently FDA cleared Ocelot system by Avinger. The procedure helps patients facing Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), an unrecognized epidemic that affects between eight and 12 million adults in the U.S. and 30 million people globally. PAD is caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries that blocks blood flow to legs and feet.

The Ocelot catheter, supported by the Lightbox console, allows physicians to see from inside an artery during the actual procedure, using optical coherence tomography, or OCT. In the past, operators have had to rely solely on x-ray as well as touch and/or feel to guide catheters through complicated blockages. With Ocelot, physicians can more accurately navigate through blocked arteries thanks to the images from inside the artery.

Each year, more than 200,000 amputations occur due to PAD and this technology has the potential to offer patients an alternative treatment.  Because some blockages can become so severe and difficult to penetrate with traditional catheters, patients (unaware of advanced treatment options like Ocelot) often undergo invasive bypass surgeries that result in even higher health risks and lengthy, painful recoveries.

 “The patient we treated presented at our sister hospital, Ukiah Valley Medical Center, this past autumn having sustained a stroke,” said Dr. Sakopoulos.  “He recovered completely and subsequently complained of severe pain in his calves when walking. Simple ultrasound studies revealed complete blockages of the arteries that ran down his legs. He came to our center for this treatment, he was our first patient, and had a superlative result. We were able to cross this complete blockage and restore blood supply to his limbs.”

Ocelot is the first-ever chronic total occlusion (CTO) crossing catheter that uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology to access exact regions of the peripheral vasculature where the blockages occur, while simultaneously providing St. Helena Hospital physicians with visualization for real-time navigation during an intervention. “This new technology gives us better visualization to get across completely blocked arteries. It is the most advanced tool available today for the treatment of some of the most severe forms of PAD,” said Dr. Allen.

It is a minimally invasive treatment designed to allow patients to leave the hospital within hours, and return to normal activities within a few days. Dr. Sakopoulos encourages those that are experiencing any of the above symptoms to ask their doctor about their risks for PAD, as early detection is the key to saving limbs.


About St. Helena Hospital: St. Helena Hospital is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 28,700 includes more than 21,000 employees; 4,500 medical staff physicians; and 3,000 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 19 hospitals, more than 150 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies, six hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers.