(WRCB) - Johnny Carroll and Verna Sloan were both diagnosed with PAD, also known as hardening of the arteries.
"It just got to where I couldn't walk up and down the steps, couldn't hardly move at all," Carroll says.
"It was getting so painful in my hips, I couldn't walk," adds Sloan.
"If someone tries to walk and they have a blockage in the major artery, they can't get enough blood flow to make the muscle work and that's when they have pain," Dr. Chris LeSar says.
That pain caused Johnny and Verna to end up at Parkridge Medical Center, one of four hospitals in the nation where vascular surgeons like Dr. Chris LeSar uses this new technology, the True Path device to treat difficult and complex blockages.
"It's a device that allows us to drill through the blockage and that allows the doctor to stent the blockage, fixing the circulation so the patient can walk," Dr. LeSar says.
The diamond encrusted tip of the device spins at 13,000 rotations per minute, and creates minimal risks for complications such as embolism.
This new technology is used in about 20 percent of patients, those with the most severe cases.
With PAD, or Peripheral Arterial Disease, the loss of circulation in limbs can not only cause serious pain, but can also lead to serious infections.
In severe cases it can even lead to amputation and put patients at three time higher risk for a stroke or heart attack.
That's why it's important to know the main risk factors to try and prevent PAD or catch this condition early.
Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and inactivity all put you at greater risk for developing PAD.
Both Verna and Johnny admit to smoking, and Verna says
"I wasn't really walking a whole lot, I drove a bus like 38 years and then I got so that when I would walk my hips would hurt," Verna says.
But now with the help of this new technology that pain is gone.
"I can walk and my hips don't hurt," she says.
"Now that he has done this, my feet don't stay near as cold as they used to and when I cross my legs they don't go to sleep like they used to," adds Johnny.
And doctor LeSar says unlike traditional surgery, in most cases the patient can go home that day or the next day.
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