Leg pain when you walk? Inova team helps identify and tackle peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Stepping Out

Inova team tackles peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Even at age 83, Betsy Hamilton loves to take walks, an activity she’s embraced her entire life after growing up in Scotland. But, about 10 years ago, she developed peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that narrows the arteries — most commonly in the legs — and it caused an unwelcome decline in her mobility.

Last fall, her condition worsened as the blockages in her leg arteries from PAD become critical. “I couldn’t walk one block and had pain at night trying to sleep,” she recalls.

She turned to vascular surgeon Richard Neville, MD, FACS, Associate Director of Inova Heart and Vascular Institute, and Vice Chairman of Surgery, who has been involved in treating this condition for Betsy over several years. While there were many options for therapy, in this case, he recommended surgery, and the difference has been phenomenal.

“Dr. Neville gave me my mobility back. I do all my own housework and shopping now,” Betsy says. She points out that she can walk up to five or six blocks now before getting tired, and she is looking forward to experiencing more progress.

PAD is becoming more common, Dr. Neville notes, especially since it can be caused by diabetes, a condition that’s growing around the world. Other diabetes-related foot issues are also more of a concern than ever before, he adds.

The conditions often require a multidisciplinary approach that includes lifestyle changes, medical care, and sometimes increasing blood flow into the leg with angioplasty or bypass surgery. Other important conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease or infection must also be considered, says Dr. Neville. Not every healthcare system has “all the pieces to the puzzle” with expertise in every area like Inova does, he says-and that makes Inova stand out when it comes to handling these very complex conditions.

“You don’t cure these issues; you treat them in a way that restores mobility and relieves pain, and that takes time,” he says. “Ms. Hamilton is an excellent example of the long-term relationships we build with our patients. She’s like family.”

Go With the Flow

Learn more about Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

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