A Journey to Better Health

For one Missouri man, care at Inova Loudoun’s Heart and Vascular Institute is worth the 13-hour trip

By now, Jim Miller and his wife Teresa practically know by heart the route from their home in Hannibal, Missouri, to the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute – Schaufeld Family Heart Center at Inova Loudoun Hospital (ILH). It’s a 13-hour drive, done every six months, and they often make it a three-day journey with rests in between so Jim can keep his leg from stiffening up. But, it’s worth the time and effort — every time.

“I’ve been in the military, so we’ve lived around the world,” says the 75-year-old. “I’ve never experienced this level of care anywhere. I refuse to be treated anywhere but Inova Loudoun Hospital.”

The Millers’ experience with Inova began in June 2011, while they were visiting their son in Ashburn, Virginia. Throughout his life, from athletics in high school to his Army career, Jim suffered numerous leg injuries, leading to a very serious circulation compromise in his left leg.

A leg bypass surgery previously done in Missouri clotted during his visit to Virginia in 2011, so Jim was treated by Salman Mufti, MD, a vascular interventional radiologist at ILH. He resolved the circulatory problem with a minimally invasive procedure involving clot-busting medication, angioplasty and stenting to restore vital blood flow to the leg. Over the next few years, the same problem would recur, needing revisions and repeat minimally invasive surgery with Dr. Mufti.

Teresa recalls that the moment they walked in, everyone remembered them as if they’d been there the day before. “It was amazing,” she says. “We really felt like we were treated as people, not a diagnosis. And that’s the way it continues to be, every time we go. They’re so friendly and welcoming that they feel like family now.”

They felt such confidence in the care at ILH that when Jim had another vascular emergency and was sent to a hospital in Missouri by medevac in 2014, he chose instead to make the drive to Inova rather than be treated at that Missouri facility. “They told me that amputation had become my only option,” he says, but “Dr. Mufti saved my leg instead.”

Due for another stent in his leg — his fifth — Jim says he feels tremendous relief, knowing that Dr. Mufti and everyone at Inova is caring for him. “They do a better job than anyone at detecting a problem before it becomes severe,” he says. “We’re happy to make the drive.”

The Millers’ vascular care now includes regular follow-up visits with the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute clinic with Dr. Mufti and Kathie James, NP; and ultrasounds with Daniel Yiarga, RPV, to ensure that circulation is optimal in the leg.

InHealth magazine cover that says "Built with Heart"Related story: Inova Loudoun Hospital’s spring 2017 magazine features an article about the Schaufeld Family’s history of generous donations to the Inova Loudoun heart and vascular program.

2 Comments

  1. Barry on July 7, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Why did this patient need repeated stent emplacements? Did the initial stents clog due to scar tissue build up or other problems, or is it the nature of his vascular disease that additional stents are needed periodically without any failure of the previous stents??

    • InovaNewsroom on July 25, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Posted on behalf of Dr. Salman Mufti: The patient had very advanced disease and had vascular issues at numerous levels therefore needed new and repeat intervention to deal with several levels. Also, the stents do narrow with time and needed repeat intervention in one or two levels.

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