Peripheral Arterial Disease: A Less Invasive Alternative
DMC Specialists use new technique to treat Peripheral Arterial Disease, avoiding surgery and/or limb amputation.
Like millions of Americans, Shirley Stott suffers from Peripheral Arterial Disease – or PAD. Only about 30 percent of PAD patients show symptoms. Left untreated, this disease can result in gangrene of the feet and legs, and at worst, amputation.
Dr. Mahir Elder of the DMC Cardiovascular Institute has treated more than 7,000 patients with PAD and is an expert in the disease. Detroit Medical Center (DMC) is a national leader in PAD treatment and prevention of amputation. PAD is primarily a disease of the legs. The legs, just like everything else, are dependent upon the circulatory system for their blood supply. If the arteries of the legs are compromised by a blockage or narrowing, the blood supply is reduced. And just like a plant that doesn’t get water, the tissues in the legs can begin to wither away.
Shirley’s condition had worsened to the point where the pain was unbearable. Other physicians had dismissed it as hip pain and leg pain, brought on by age. With a referral to Dr. Elder, she was properly screened and PAD was determined to be the culprit. Many times, this lack of early detection allows the condition to advance to the point where amputation is the only option – the damage is irreversible. If the blockage is in the hip area, the most common treatment is bypass, requiring open surgery with a leg incision, anesthesia and three to four days of hospitalization.
But Dr. Elder and the team at the DMC Cardiovascular institute are leading the nation in a procedure that has patients going home without even a scar. Shirley’s iliac vessel was 100 percent blocked – the blood flow to her right leg was severely compromised. But Dr. Elder was able to open the blockage and restore the flow of blood in less than 60 minutes.
“We fixed it through a technique called percuateneous endovascular revascularization,” says Elder. “There’s no cutting involved, there’s no stitches, and through a basic IV line in the hospital, we put open the blockage, stent the area that’s occluded, and everything comes out and she goes home the very next day.”
The procedure requires only two tiny punctures, and Shirley had no pain afterward, feeling “one hundred percent better.”
“The most gratifying experience is when patients have a cold foot, with little or no pulse, and immediately after the procedure, we can feel a pulse, and feel the foot grow warm,” says Elder. “When they go back tot heir room, they walk around, they can go to the bathroom, the immediately feel the results.”
For Dr. Elder, part of giving his patients their “new leg” is making sure they receive the best possible care while in the hospital.
“As an extra precaution, I will do these procedures in one day and I will spend the night in the hospital with the patients. That’s a huge advantage we have at Detroit Medical Center, since I am the operator and board-certified cardiologist, being in house 24 hours a day. If there are any problems, I’m the one who answers and I’m at the bedside, and that’s unparalleled by any other hospital in the country.”
“The majority of the patients that come in for this procedure go home before I do!”
Risk factors for peripheral arterial disease include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and having a family history of the disease. The majority of patients do not have symptoms. It’s a good idea to be screened if you have any of the risk factors, especially a family history. The screening is a simple 15-minute test done by healthcare professionals at DMC.
To book a screening, or schedule an appointment with Dr. Mahir Elder, visit DMC.org or call 888-DMC-2500.
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Associate Clinical Chief of Cardiology - Ambulance Service
Associate Program Director of CT Angiogram
PRIMARY HOSPITAL: Harper University Hospital
SPECIALTY: Interventional Cardiology, including endovascular-carotid and peripheral interventions
BOARD CERTIFICATION: American Board of Internal Medicine
EDUCATION/TRAINING: American University of Caribbean School of Medicine
RESIDENCY: Harper University Hospital, Interventional Cardiology
FELLOWSHIP: Harper University Hospital, Cardiology
FELLOWSHIP: Harper University Hospital, Interventional Cardiology