PAD net: Early intervention
Just because we can’t feel it doesn’t mean it isn’t there: An estimated 1 in 20 people over the age of 50 are affected by peripheral arterial disease (PAD), in which blood flow to the legs and feet is restricted by plaque buildup in the arteries.
Peripheral artery disease results from fatty deposits
(plaque) that build up in the arteries outside the
heart, mainly the arteries supplying the legs and feet.
“PAD is a condition that more often than not has no symptoms,” says Dr. Richard Gray, medical director of the Tyler Heart Institute at Community Hospital. “Patients often are unaware they might have a blockage. However, when patients have this condition in the legs, there is a very high chance they will have it in the heart.”
To help doctors throughout the region diagnose and treat PAD, Community Hospital has launched the PADnet Disease Management System. Using PADnet, a noninvasive vascular screening technology, the hospital has partnered with area doctors to create a network that provides patients with a high-quality diagnostic evaluation.
Primary care doctors can screen their own patients and then consult with Community Hospital to provide continuity of care.
The PADnet screening takes 15 to 20 minutes and measures segmental blood pressure in the arms and legs and blood volume in the legs and toes. This information is transmitted from the doctor’s office to vascular specialists at Community Hospital for interpretation. The frontline doctors are then provided with information about their patients’ lower extremity arterial system.
“PADnet enables doctors to decide who needs treatment,” says Mike Barber, RN, director of the Tyler Heart Institute. “It allows for a hub-and-spoke arrangement where doctors can connect with vascular specialists to aid in preventive screening and diagnosis. Roughly 50 percent of patients who are selected for testing for PAD will be positive, and 10 percent of those will need intervention.”
Before this partnership, doctors had to purchase the screening device and arrange with a specialist to have the data interpreted. Now Community Hospital provides a lease option for the device and a comprehensive network for interpretation and follow-up.
Through this effort, PADnet devices are being installed in 11 doctors’ offices, including podiatrists, where leg and foot discomfort are common issues,” Gray says. “The goal is prevention. We want peripheral arterial disease addressed before the underlying condition has advanced to cause heart disease or stroke.”
If you have the symptoms described above right, talk to your doctor about a PAD test or call Tyler Heart Institute at 625-4538.