Providers monitor blood pressure in at-risk patients with limbs that may be in jeopardy from inadequate blood flow. The basic ankle-brachial index test is used to compare the blood pressure in the upper arm to the blood pressure in the leg to make sure they match. When patients show abnormal results or report indications from self-monitoring, Piraino and Miller refer them to a cardiologist.
Daniel Soffer, MD, medical director of endovascular cardiology, brings a unique skill set to the Limb Preservation Program. Not all cardiologists have specialized training or experience treating endovascular conditions. Soffer not only performs cardiovascular procedures, he also works with peripheral vessels from the neck to the toes.
The size or degree of an amputation can be reduced — or even avoided — with a procedure Soffer performs to improve or restore blood flow to the feet. The key is establishing a straight line of blood flow from the heart to the foot, or to where there is tissue damage or loss.
“The technology has improved drastically in the past two decades,” Soffer said. “We have newer tools and devices to help us expand and deliver treatments with more effective outcomes.”
Soffer describes the new balloons and stents as more flexible and they adjust to the vessels in the legs. They are self-expanding and come in different sizes and lengths. In addition, they are now coated with medication to prevent scar tissue from forming to help provide patients with the best possible outcomes.
“An abnormal ankle-brachial index test may mean a decrease in life expectancy and an increased risk for heart attack or stroke,” Soffer said. “This screening program not only preserves limbs, but can also save lives.”