Peripheral Artery Disease Risks & Warning Signs | El Camino Health

Peripheral Artery Disease Risks & Warning Signs | El Camino Health


[ Silence ]>>Perhaps one of the areas that El Camino Hospital
will become best known for is treatment of
peripheral arterial disease. And basically what that is, is
blocked arteries in the legs. This is a problem that affects at least 20 million
people in America. It’s thought to impact 5 to 10 % of individuals 55
years of age and older. And it’s probably the strongest
marker of risk for heart attack and stroke in patients
in America. The testing to determine whether
someone has peripheral arterial disease is really simple. It can be done with a
blood pressure cuff. The treatment is very effective. And it also is important
to recognize this because obviously it then
turns our eye on the heart and the brain and makes
sure that we’re doing all of the things that we should do to prevent major
problems for our patients. Now peripheral vascular disease
can present itself in a couple of different ways and
there’s a broad spectrum. Patients who smoke,
patients who are diabetic, patients who carry all of the
typical cardiac risk factors are at increased risk for
peripheral arterial disease. The thing about peripheral
arterial disease though is over time, it has a very,
very high risk of death. At 5 years after the diagnosis
of peripheral arterial disease, the likelihood of survival
is reduced by 25 percent. That’s greater than or equal to
colon cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, some other things that people
pay a lot more attention to. When you get advanced stages
of peripheral arterial disease, that number goes up
precipitously to the point that – you know – survival
is of grave concern, not because people die from
peripheral arterial disease but because it affects
them in the form of stroke and heart attack which
obviously can be fatal. Patients that have this problem
often times complain of fatigue, tiredness or discomfort
in their legs. The typical pattern is they
can walk a certain distance, after which they have to stop because their legs really won’t
allow them to go any further. They rest for a few minutes and the blood recirculates
in the legs. They resume their walking and can go a similar distance
before stopping again. A lot of times this problem
is blamed on old age, on immobility, on
living a sedentary life. Some people think
it’s arthritis. It can affect the hips,
the buttocks, the thighs, more commonly the
calf muscles and feet. But these are problems that
tend to come on very slowly so people don’t pay attention
to them as much as – you know – as getting a cold where something’s
wrong all of a sudden. This has got a slow,
progressive onset and people tend to adjust to it. They find a park bench where
they want to sit in the park so that they can – you
know – break up their walk. They use a scooter in a grocery
store or push a cart which seems to make things a
little bit easier. But ultimately, the long-term
impact on the quality of life in these individuals is that
they become more sedentary, they are not cardiovascularly
fit and that increases their risk of developing heart
attack and stroke. This problem goes
on even further if it’s not paid attention
to, especially in diabetics where it can become something that causes critical limb
ischemia which means your leg is at risk of being amputated. People who have leg discomfort, people who can’t feel their
feet, people who have ulcers or early signs of gangrene
or black ulcers of the foot, ultimately need care right away. At El Camino, we’ve
been extremely effective at treating these
problems, taking the patients who have claudication or have
simple lifestyle limitations and restoring adequate
blood supply to their legs so that they can roam
freely and be well. Taking patients who have true
limb threatening problems and in a 90 to 95 %
likelihood, they will — save their limbs and get them
back on their feet literally. When people get to the point
that they require or undergo and amputation, the
mortality increase in those folks is pretty severe. You know greater than half
of those folks are dead within a couple of years
because of the loss in mobility and because of the density of
plaque that’s in their body. And so this is a very important
problem to pay attention to. And we pride ourselves here on
having every tool imaginable and many that are not readily
available at other hospitals to help us succeed in the
battle to restore blood flow to the legs, to keep
legs attached and where they’re supposed to
be, and to keep people moving and moving towards good health. [ Silence ]>>So the key to success really
in treating blocked arteries in the legs is you need to find
somebody who’s very experienced and you need to go to a center
that has every tool imaginable. If you’re being given advice that you’re only
option is an amputation, you need another opinion. Amputation is a treatment
of last resort. I can’t tell you how many
times we’ve found patients that were told that was
their option and we found that there were other options
that actually saved the leg and got them functional again. If you’re being told your only
option is a surgical bypass, quite frankly there are
other options available that are much less —
much less impacting on you: much less invasive. The key again is, getting to a
center, getting to a physician that can understand the
value of all of the options that are on the table. The key here is we’re happy
to work with any physician, any discipline, we do
this on a regular basis. We routinely train the doctors
on the west coast to come in and learn new techniques. So we’re very used to
dealing with patients locally and patients from afar
who have these difficult to treat problems. We can treat them with
a simple puncture. People often times
go home the same day. Even bypass surgery, we’ve now
figured out a way to do this without any surgery at all. So options are really
unlimited as long as you be your own advocate. Find out what your options
truly are and be aggressive about your healthcare. [ Silence ]