Advances in Treating PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease)
PAD now affects more than 8.5 Americans and is becoming more prevalent as the population ages—yet this condition often goes undiagnosed. Patients with peripheral arterial disease have a higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke. Left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.
NYP/Columbia’s vascular surgeons currently perform about 10 angiograms each week to evaluate claudication in suspected cases of PAD. “Though we use the latest innovations and surgical techniques, we don’t push patients into the OR,” says Nicholas Morrissey, MD, one of the nation’s leading vascular surgeons. “We have a healthy respect for the challenges a patient faces after intervention. Our multidisciplinary approach allows us to start with medical management. We recommend a procedure once the patient’s lifestyle is seriously impacted and are known for our success in handling the most complex and challenging cases. Among them:
- A 105 year-old patient with gangrene of the toes, was alert, and despite his age, wanted to proceed with surgery. After reviewing all the risks with his family member, we did a bypass graft in an hour and a half, working very quickly and with good anesthesia support. We saved his foot—he’s now 107 and still walking.
- An 89 year-old businessman, still every active, had a bad heart and valve replacements, then developed ulcers on his feet. On Christmas eve, he came to the OR with gangrene in his toes. His femoral artery was calcified and hard as a rock. We used a catheter to clear the channel and were able to reestasblish blood flow to the foot. We also placed drug-eluting stents in order to keep the artery open long -term. That was a year ago. The patient still runs the family business and now he’s on his way to Florida with his fiancée.
“Our motto is, Save limbs, save lives,” says Dr. Morrissey. “With new advances in technology, we can offer procedures that improve quality of life and keep our patients active for a long period of time.”