Arterial Disease Costs Limbs and Life
Prior to the amputations performed in the hospital at the end of 2020, Timothy Harris’* right leg was swollen, discolored, and experiencing excruciating cramps. First, the toes were amputated, then the foot, and finally a below-the-knee amputation was performed. When, a year later, he saw the same symptoms in his left leg, Timothy came to Modern Vascular in the hope of preventing another amputation.
Now, a year later, the patient’s left leg is still amputation-free. His cramps are significantly reduced and his foot is much warmer. “Had I known about Modern Vascular, I would have come here first,” he states about Modern Vascular, “they did treatment on my left leg and saved my left foot.”
His symptoms are attributed to peripheral arterial disease (“PAD”), a disease shared by 8 to 10 million Americans. In the simplest sense, PAD is the blockage of arteries in the legs. Like many other diseases, it becomes more prevalent with age. Yet, more disturbingly, the terrible “funnel” of PAD is fed by the epidemic growth of diabetics and obesity. 130 million American adults are living with diabetes and pre-diabetes. The national average of obesity in adults is 31.9%. One way to look at the extent of the “global problem” of PAD is this: in 2015, the total cost of treating cancer in the United States was estimated at $80 billion. In 2017, the total cost of treating arterial problems in diabetics only was around $79 billion.
PAD starts slowly – the related pain is often blamed on old age, remains undiagnosed, and then becomes deadly. At the late stages of the disease, a patient develops lesions, fissures, and wounds that do not heal. This condition is called critical limb ischemia (“CLI”). Ultimately, without blood flow, the living tissue dies and patients end up needing an amputation. Approximately 150,000 lower extremity amputations (not attributable to accidents or other trauma) are performed in the United States every year. Most of these amputations are attributed to PAD.
As dangerous as the disease is, most Americans are not aware of PAD. Research shows that only 26% of people 50 years or older are aware of PAD and only 49% of primary care physicians know that their patients have PAD. This lack of awareness means late diagnoses, causing further damage before treatment can begin. It also means that patients aren’t familiar with the disease’s progression, the methods of intervening, and at what point it is too late to save the toe, foot, or leg. This is further exacerbated by blatantly false claims that vascular evaluations can lead to amputations. This misinformation often perpetuated by sensationalism of reporters, causes real and immediate harm to PAD patients. Consider the following statistics:
- 30 of 100 diabetic patients, who developed a wound or lesion on their foot, are likely to die within the next 5 years. For comparison, out of 100 patients with advanced cancer, 31 are likely to pass away within the same period.
- 25 out of 100 patients with CLI are likely to have an amputation within the first year of diagnosis.
- 71 out of 100 patients who suffered an amputation are likely to die within 3 years of amputation. Up to 15 of these 71 are likely to die within the first 30 days after amputation.
Modern Vascular clinicians help patients to become an exception to these statistics. Every single day we prolong the lifespan and improve the quality of life for our patients.
Modern Vascular Treats Patients Safely and Responsibly
Modern Vascular performs minimally invasive endovascular procedures. Because Modern Vascular employs state of the art technology and singularly focuses on the training of its physicians, its rate of major complications is at the lowest end of the complications range and, in most of its facilities – is significantly below the lowest reported major complication rates.
While the procedures performed at Modern Vascular are relatively safer than other treatment options, they are just one part of the treatment that Modern Vascular provides to patients. If a patient has little artery blockage, the clinical professionals at Modern Vascular educate them on symptoms to monitor for. When symptoms are mild, Modern Vascular prescribes a monitored walking program which, if followed, is known to slow down the progression of the disease (our preliminary data generated internally at Modern Vascular shows that 86% of its participants are able to manage their PAD symptoms and stay away from intervention). In fact, less than a third of our patients have disease progressed enough to warrant an interventional procedure.
While hospital stay is a normal outcome of the surgeries alternative to endovascular procedures, all of Modern Vascular procedures are performed in an outpatient setting, which means that patients go home to their families after a procedure.
Modern Vascular has had immense success in advancing early screening, early diagnosis and successful treatment of PAD. The organization celebrate the improved the quality of life given to thousands of patients. The story of Timothy Harris is only one story of the Company’s many successes.
*Patient name changed for confidentiality.
If you or anyone you know may be experiencing signs or symptoms of PAD, please call Modern Vascular for a PAD evaluation at (888) 853-1278. Modern Vascular has many clinics all over the country to help you or your loved ones.