Doctor treating PAD with angioplasty through the ankle - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Providence doctor treating PAD with angioplasty through the ankle

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Dr. Patrick Alexander is treating PAD with angioplasty through the ankle. Dr. Patrick Alexander is treating PAD with angioplasty through the ankle.
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -

The heart pumps blood through the arteries in your legs, some as think as spaghetti, until there is a blockage.  Then there is a real problem.

He calls himself a youthful 75, but the truth is Timmie Quinn of Southfield recently was feeling well past his years.

"It was getting extremely difficult for me to go up and down the steps to the second floor, and I had to keep using my wife's hot water bottle in order to alleviate the pain for a few minutes," he explained.

It didn't take long for Dr. Patrick Alexander at Providence Hospital to determine Quinn was suffering from peripheral arterial disease, also known as PAD.  It's a clogged artery that is not in your heart.

"The first sign is muscle pain because the muscles are not receiving the amount of oxygen and nutrients they need," Alexander said.

PAD affects eight million people, most over the age of 60.  Key risk factors include smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure.

"If you can't walk 10 or 15 feet without feeling your muscles burning and cramping and then they go away when you stop and then they come back again when you walk, that's fairly classic for peripheral arterial disease," said Alexander.

One treatment -- angioplasty -- involves snaking a wire through the groin down through the arteries in the legs.  However, Dr. Alexander and a handful of others are finding success with a different route going up through the ankle.

"We found that you do have a slightly higher chance to negotiate through those blockages simply by going in the opposite direction," Alexander said.

Now Quinn is moving better and in far less pain.

"It's a vast improvement," he said.

Preventing PAD means eating right and exercising.  Remember, the healthier your heart, the lower your risk.

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