Dr. Kent Hootman, the managing physician and an interventional radiologist at Modern Vascular of Albuquerque, New Mexico, discusses signs and symptoms of peripheral artery disease that should not be ignored, including leg pain and non-healing ulcers. He also explains why it is important to find the right doctor who can restore blood flow clear to your toes. Plus, Dr. Hootman answers questions from a friend with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) who is concerned about her symptoms.
Monitor Chronic Foot Wounds
The issue that so many, especially diabetics, have is that one day their foot seems to be fine, and almost overnight it becomes necrotic and becomes a serious issue. It is really important to check your feet every night and every single morning when a sore develops. If you need help, consult with a family member or have regular check-ins with your doctor. You should be in touch with your primary care physicians, but also you podiatrists, and especially your vascular specialist. It takes a multi-disciplinary team to prevent and manage diabetic foot ulcers. The primary care physician is kind of a gatekeeper. For many patients, a podiatrist is a specialist to help them prevent ulcers in the first place, and the vascular specialist is there to help when problems arise.
Pedal Loop Revascularization
As a vascular interventionist, Dr. Kent Hootman from Modern Vascular of Albuquerque, New Mexico works on opening blocked arteries. Pedal loop revascularization is incredibly important because it can save feet. It used to be very uncommon to do an angiogram of the foot when they were doing an angiogram of the leg. The reason for that is that we didn’t have tools that were small enough to go down into the vessels of the foot and intervene. The coronary arteries, the main arteries that supply blood to the heart, are relatively small compared to those in the upper part of the thighs and legs. The technology that came out of coronary intervention has filtered down to the PAD interventional field, and now we have all sorts of options to treat the smaller vessels in the foot.
Treat Vessels in the Foot
The toe is about as far away that you can get from the heart. There are a lot of territories that the blood has to traverse to go from the heart to get to the toe. If you don’t deal with the vessels in the foot, a blocked artery could lead to an amputation. Then it could reduce mobility and prevent walking, which is a vital way to stay healthy. At Modern Vascular, we are advocates of making sure that we look at the pedal loop on every single angiogram and if there is a significant blockage in the foot we treat it.
In conclusion, there are options available to patients that have PAD. However, it is important to find it early. If you notice any of the signs of peripheral artery disease then you should talk to a doctor. The doctor will help you determine your treatment options. If indicated, there are minimally invasive revascularization procedures available that can help restore blood flow to the lower limb extremities.