Description: Patients are on the frontlines when it comes to uncovering gaps in our healthcare system. That's why this episode features patients who have Peripheral Artery Disease, restricted blood flow in mainly the leg arteries due to plaque build-up, and live in low-socioeconomic areas, talking about how they are treated and what might help improve care. Physicians who care for these patients also weigh-in. All guests on today’s program are attending The Way To My Heart Inc’s first in-person “Making the Impossible, Possible, P.A.D. Warrior conference in Chicago, Illinois, which is focusing on sharing cutting-edge information with P.A.D. patients. Host Kym McNicholas is broadcasting LIVE from the event. Host Dr. John Phillips is broadcasting LIVE from Newark airport in New Jersey following a medical seminar, put together by device maker Cook Medical, where he was educating other physicians and clinicians on new tools and techniques for unblocking leg arteries in minimally invasive ways.
Kym kicked off the show talking about gaps in emergency healthcare after her dad spent the week in the hospital following a fall. He fractured his right femur and right elbow. He was left in the emergency room without an orthopedic consult for 9.5 hours awaiting potential surgery. Kym expressed concern that he is a heart disease patient at-risk of blood clots, being left in one position laying down for such a long period of time without taking his blood thinners, not being given fluids, and not urinating despite a full bladder. He was only taken care once Kym arrived and was able to start advocating for him. She pushed to get a phone consult with the orthopedic surgeon who had already left the hospital without seeing her dad, confirmed the surgery for the next day, got a Levonox shot ordered, finally got him a can to empty his bladder, and had the nurse place circulating socks on his feet. This experience led to Kym and Dr. Phillips discussing the importance of emergency room staff taking steps to prevent vascular complications whether they’re related to the reason for admittance or not.
Following that conversation, other physicians joined in to discuss their ideas for improving care. Key points made by Vascular Surgeon Dr. James Antezana, M.D., FSVS, RPVI (Charlotte, North Carolina), Dr. Paramjit "Romi" Chopra (Chicago, Illinois), Kumar Madassery (Chicago, Illinois), and Dr. Mohammad Elsayed, MD (Schaumberg, Illinois) include the importance of:
· Working with Primary Care Physicians to recognize the symptoms of P.A.D. to get patients diagnosed and treated in early stages.
· Improving the communication between different physicians to ensure a timely, effective multidisciplinary approach to treating patients with P.A.D.
· More consistency in treatment for P.A.D., favoring more advanced limb salvage tools and techniques to reduce the number of preventable amputations.
Patients who spoke out on the show agreed with what the physicians had to say and had a few of their own ideas as well on shaping the future of P.A.D. care. They include:
· Encouraging patients to get a second opinion versus telling them there’s no other option but what is being offered in that moment at that facility.
· Making sure to offer a proper diagnosis for P.A.D. versus simply telling a patient they have circulation issues related to diabetes.
· Performing an exhaustive angiogram using advanced tools and techniques to try and revascularize vessels prior to amputation.
A big highlight during the show happened when one patient expressed concern about her vascular specialist refusing to treat blocked vessels below the knee despite rest pain at night. Kym was able to call over a vascular specialist attending the event to hear her story and give her hope that relief is on the way as he would review her case and exhaust all efforts to get her back on her feet pain-free.
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