Stents used to treat peripheral vascular disease.
Naperville Sun HealthAware column:
Getting a leg up on peripheral vascular disease
July 15, 2013
You’re out for an evening walk and you get a leg cramp. Most likely, you’ll ignore it. But if even a short stroll causes one or both legs to feel seriously achy and fatigued, you may be dealing with something more serious than your basic charley horse.
The pain could be because of a type of peripheral vascular disease in which arteries that normally deliver oxygen-rich blood to the legs aren’t getting the job done. Plaque has built up in these arteries, either partially or totally obstructing blood flow.
Indian Head Park resident Sara (not her real name) had a 100 percent blockage in one of her iliac arteries, the large arteries in the pelvis that supply blood to the legs and feet.
“I was lucky if I could walk a block before the leg pain — and sometimes numbness — got to be too much,” Sara says.
In May, Dr. Mark Goodwin, medical director of Edward Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab and interventional cardiologist with Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group, performed an angioplasty on Sara to get the 65-year-old back to her active lifestyle.
In this procedure, guided by imaging technology, Goodwin threaded a thin balloon-tipped catheter into an artery and then to the blocked segment near Sara’s hip. The blockage was removed when the balloon inflated. Goodwin then inserted tiny mesh stents to keep the vessel open.
Sara had undergone an angioplasty with stents in her leg in 2002 and a second balloon angioplasty in 2008. Since she had a tendency to develop recurring blockages, Goodwin decided to insert these additional stents in the recent procedure.
Angioplasty doesn’t cure the cause of blockage in the arteries, but it usually provides almost immediate relief.
“I had the procedure on Wednesday and was walking around on Thursday,” Sara says.
“With peripheral angioplasty, it’s especially satisfying because we see the patient’s quality of life improve so quickly, and there are also cases where we’re able to save a patient from amputation,” Goodwin says.
Patients can help keep their blood vessels healthy by eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising most days, finding ways to manage stress and not smoking. Sara is doing her part by taking her medications, and she says her diet and cholesterol are under control. She’s back to her full-time job with a law firm, and can walk for miles in her spare time.
In addition to maintaining his cardiology practice, Goodwin participates in clinical trials at Edward and travels internationally to keep abreast of the latest developments in cardiology.
“These meetings give me a chance to learn about techniques and devices already in place in Europe, which may soon be ready for clinical trials in the United States,” he says.
For example, Goodwin made several trips to Germany in recent years, where he observed use of a new drug-eluting angioplasty balloon. Edward is the only site in the Chicago area to be involved in two clinical studies using this device, and area residents who qualify have convenient access to a new technology.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services