Have you ever had to cut your day short because of severe leg pain? Pain or discomfort in the legs is a common symptom of a disease called peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrient rich blood from the heart to all areas of the body. Peripheral arterial disease, otherwise known as atherosclerosis, develops in the arteries of the legs causing pain, weakness, or fatigue while walking. As plaque builds up it attaches itself to arterial walls and hardens over time, narrowing blood flow to the legs causing symptoms.
The Buena Vista Regional Healthcare Foundation recently purchased a Mesi ABI machine to better serve wound care patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This purchase was made possible by the Naomi Robinson Estate. Naomi, a former patient, felt she received excellent care by Joni Boese and Alicia Heuton BVRMC Wound, Ostomy, and Continence nurses and wanted to show her appreciation.
Testing is quick, painless, and takes about a minute to complete. Blood pressure cuffs are applied to both legs and one arm. Using the Mesi ABI machine, blood pressure cuffs inflate at once and calculates a number called the Ankle Brachial Index (ABI). The ratio of the pressures are compared and indicates the level of severity of the patient’s circulation. The ABI number gives the wound nurse guidelines of what treatment would be safe to use on foot or leg ulcers. There are standards of care for different severities of the ABI number that are followed. The rate at which PAD progresses varies with each individual and depends on many factors, including the patient’s overall health. The patient’s results are shared with their physician to determine if further circulation or vascular studies are warranted.
Early diagnosis has many advantages, from better long-term quality of life, decreased costs of treatment, and reduced mortality. Unfortunately, more than 50% of patients with PAD experience no symptoms. Risk factors include aging, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or family history of cardiovascular disease. If left untreated, patients with PAD can develop other serious health issues.
“Ms. Robinson found answers and comfort from the wound care nurses. Her donation will help future wound care patients for many years,” says Executive Director of Community Development Katie Schwint.
The mission of Buena Vista Regional Healthcare Foundation is to provide financial support for the health care needs of the region, by recognizing the needs and valuing the work being done by the caring staff at BVRMC.