DMC Heart and vascular specialist Dr. Delair Gardi uses Peripheral angiogram to treat peripheral artery disease, or blocked arteries.
Thomas Fifelski knew something was wrong when he began to have trouble completing a simple three-mile walk around the lake in his subdivision. It gradually became harder and harder to walk, and then he saw an advertisement that described his symptoms accurately, and indicated he may be dealing with Peripheral Artery Disease.
Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, has long flown under the radar, with Coronary Artery Disease getting the most attention, medically – but not at Detroit Medical Center, where a specialized team at the DMC Cardiovascular Institute has been established to address this need.
DMC heart and vascular specialist Dr. Delair Gardi is an internationally renowned cardiac and endovascular specialist. “If you have disease in the coronary arteries, there is a more than 40 percent chance you might have it everywhere else in your body,” explains Dr. Gardi. “Including the lower extremities, upper extremities and your carotid, and so on.”
Peripheral arteries are those that reach out from the heart to deliver blood to the extremities, including the arms and legs. Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when cholesterol plaque builds up on the walls of these far-reaching arteries. When that happens, the plaque will create a blockage. Over time, if this risk factor is not corrected – if the plaque is not removed from the arteries -- it will progress to a life or limb threatening level.
After thorough research on the internet, Thomas Fifelski came to an important conclusion: DMC Harper University Hospital and the DMC Cardiovascular Institute was the place for him. “DMC was the only one that gave you a good critique on the doctors themselves,” says Fifelski. “It told us all the things that the doctors were accredited in, and we picked Dr. Gardi. And I think it was great that we selected him. I do think the man saved my life.”
Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease is called a peripheral angiogram, and it begins with an assessment of all the arteries. A tiny incision is made, usually in the groin and a catheter is guided through the opening and into the arteries. Dye is injected, allowing the arteries to be seen on a computer screen. The arteries take on the dark color of the dye; any white portions of the arteries indicate blockage.
The most common method of clearing the blockage uses a laser that heats the blockage cells up until they rupture. When this happens, they change into byproducts including oxygen, water, carbon dioxides, and other products that evaporate and dissolve in circulation.
After Dr. Gardi used Peripheral Angiogram to clear out the blockages in Mr. Fifelski’s arteries, the recovery time was swift. He spent one night in the hospital for observation, and he was up and walking the next day.
“We’re proud to have this technology right in our hands here at Detroit Medical Center,” says Dr. Gardi. “This is advanced technology that really shows that right now is a good time to be alive – if you lived 100 years ago, and you had this problem, you would soon be history yourself.”
And Mr. Fifelski offers the final word, when asked what his thoughts are about Detroit Medical Center: “I think it’s just the best place on earth!”
To learn more about Peripheral Artery Disease, and the treatments available, visit the DMC Cardiovascular Institute website.