Hundreds of thousands of patients come to Arkansas Heart Hospital each year in Little Rock for bypass surgeries and amputations as a result of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a build up of plaque in the arteries that stops the flow of blood to the legs and feet.
Doctors say sometimes that blockage is so severe and hard to get to with traditional catheters, that patients often turn to bypass surgery, which could result in amputations and a long recovery.
But now, Dr. Ian Cawich, Interventional Cardiologist at Arkansas Heart says his team is on to something big.
"We can give Arkansans cutting edge technology," says Dr. Cawich.
The ocelot catheter will be used on patients that have enrolled in a trial program.
Doctors say the ocelot will help restore blood flow in the blocked arteries in patients legs by using a tiny incision, which will hopefully avoid amputations.
"It's like being able to see inside the artery as opposed to looking from outside with traditional froascopy in trying to guess if you're in the right location."
Lessening the likelihood of creating a hole inside the artery by going the wrong way, the success rate with the ocelot has been about 98 percent.
Although it's still in trial phases, approval for full-time use is near.
"We are almost close to getting FDA approval for the trial," Dr. Cawich says. "Currently it's just an investigational trial."
Doctors say they are already helping physicians prepare for use in other states.
Patients are able to leave the hospital the same day in some cases, and get back to normal activities quickly.