When I began my career in Interventional Radiology, I was primarily focused on the women’s health issues surrounding procedures involved in uterine fibroid treatment options, primarily Uterine Fibroid Embolization or UFE.
For me, informed consent is important; however, in many cases the treatment options offered to women suffering from uterine fibroids included hysterectomy and myomectomy, and only on rare occasions was the most minimally invasive and effective treatment, UFE, even discussed with the patient.
LACK OF INFORMATION
As a woman and a physician who spent my fellowship with the top uterine fibroid specialist in the country, this lack of information for the patients made my blood boil and the activist in me came to life.
It wasn’t about the cases being sent to me, it was about providing women with complete information on the uterine fibroid treatment options available.
This concern drove me to build a collaborative practice that would work with the gynecology community that provided hysterectomy and myomectomy and not against them. We found this was the best way to truly put the patient first and not just talk about patient-centered care. We provide all of the information on uterine fibroid treatment options in Portland and then work with the care team to help guide the patient in making the right choice for them.
WHAT IS PAD?
PAD itself is very straightforward and easy to understand. Arteries are the main vessels in the body that supply the needed blood to areas of the body to function in a healthy way. When those vessels get clogged or blocked, which is also known as occluded, it stops the needed blood flow from getting to the intended area. Think of it as the plumbing in your home. If the pipe to your sink is clogged, when you turn the faucet on no water comes out, and it’s the same with your arteries except the faucet should always be running and the blood should always be flowing. Having a clogged artery is more than just a hassle, it can be life threatening.
SYMPTOMS OF PAD
They include: cramping leg pain in one or both of your hips, thighs or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs (claudication). Leg numbness or weakness, coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side. Sores or ulcers on your toes, feet or legs that won’t heal. A change in the color of your legs. Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs. Slower growth of your toenails. Shiny skin on your legs. No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet. Erectile dysfunction in men.
This brings me to why I have become so passionate about treating Peripheral Arterial Disease, PAD, which affects 1 in 20 people in the United States. Somewhere around 12 million people suffer from PAD. Symptoms of PAD may present themselves early or may not present at all but they are easy to recognize when they do.
PERSONAL TO ME
Peripheral arterial disease treatment options have become so important to me. I have come to realize it is affecting more lives in the Pacific Northwest and Portland than I knew. I have 2 siblings, a brother and sister, both of whom are married.
My oldest sister is married to a great guy named Richard. (I asked Richard if I could tell his story and he said if it helped someone else he would be happy to share). Richard is 58 years old and has diabetes. He and my sister both live in Northern California.
One day in October of 2017, I got a phone call from my sister and she told me that Richard had been to a podiatrist because of an ulcer that had started to develop on his foot. As the only physician in my family, it’s not uncommon for the family to fill me in on almost anything medically related, whether I know anything about it or not.
At the time I thought it was strange that an ulcer had developed and nobody had mentioned it before or caught it earlier. Nevertheless, I knew the hospital system that they were a part of and based on their reputation, I assumed he would be in good hands with a leg ulcer specialist.
Fast forward 18 months. Richard has now, as a result of the ulcer that has not healed, had multiple amputations of his toes and has not been able to leave the skilled nursing facility that he was originally sent to.
I dug deeper into what treatment he had and found out that although I was told he received a diagnostic angiogram to determine if he had blood flow to his wound, which is critical for the ulcer to heal, the angiogram did not reveal the blood flow in and out of the ulcer area and was only looked at above the knee. It is common to have inflow even when a lower extremity area could be completely blocked!
PROBLEMS FACING PAD
Here is the problem we face when it comes to treating PAD. It takes more than just a cursory look at the arteries above the knee. In order for an ulcer to heal effectively it needs to have healthy blood flow in and out of the area.
It is critical that we as leg ulcer doctors and particularly interventional radiologists and vascular experts are willing and able to do the necessary work of going below the knee and even below the ankle to diagnose and treat these arteries that feed the feet and toes.
It breaks my heart to see the number of amputations that result from untreated and un-healing ulcers and it is my passion to dramatically reduce amputations.
I know it is possible and I have made it a primary area of focus for my practice at AVC to become the best PAD treatment provider in Oregon.
I educate and collaborate with the referring provider and physician community in the Pacific Northwest to establish the best practices and standards, so that what happened to my brother-in-law will never happen to anyone else.
IN OFFICE TREATMENT OPTIONS
Treatment options for PAD are easy for me to perform in my office and patients are able to come in the morning and are most likely home by noon, thus avoiding a lifetime of struggle, pain and the challenges that my brother Richard now faces. If we save a limb we truly save a life.
Contact us today at (503) 683-7730 if you or a loved one could benefit from our expert care and treatments.