Excerpt: As part of our ongoing Vascular Innovation Series in conjunction with The Way to My Heart, Emmy Award-winning Journalist Kym McNicholas shares an impactful “Patients As Partners” discussion where physicians, innovators and patients analyze gaps in our healthcare system and solutions for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management of vascular disease that lead to better patient outcomes.

Interview and Article by Kym McNicholas, The Way To My Heart

Approximately 8-12 million people in the United States have Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) which, in its advanced stages (called Chronic Limb-Threatening Ischemia, CLTI), can lead to loss of mobility, amputation, and death. Every 20 seconds nationally, someone has a leg or foot amputated due to diabetes-related complications, including PAD. It is estimated that nearly 85% of these amputations are avoidable. It’s time to bring all stakeholders to the table to expedite innovation around the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management options. That includes patients, which is why Vascular Cures, in partnership with The Way To My Heart, has launched the Patients as Partners program to elevate the most important voice in shaping programs, products, and best practices designed to improve patient outcomes. A part of the program will include discussions where doctors, innovators, and patients analyze gaps in our healthcare system and identify solutions that can improve the quality of life and outcomes that matter most to patients.

In the first Patients as Partners session during The Way To My Heart’s Diabetes | PAD Patient Conference, a Canadian patient shares her struggles in finding a physician who will help her find relief for debilitating CLTI pain. She is a strong self-advocate who has persevered despite severe claudication, continuing her workouts and an 8-hour a day job on her feet. Now that her pain wakes her up at night despite the extra collateral vessels she’s grown through her commitment to walking, cycling, and lifting weights daily, she feels it’s time for her care providers to put their conservative medical treatment approach aside and discuss new ways to restore blood flow and relieve her pain.

In this discussion, she impresses upon physicians the importance of listening to patients and not delaying treatment for lifestyle-limiting claudication and rest pain. Watch to the end as this woman, who thought she was only at the table to raise awareness of the experiences of CLTI Patients, gets the tables turned on her when a member of the physician panel provides a real-time revelation that could change her future.

Physician Panel:

Dr. David Armstrong
Professor of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC
Director, Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance
Founder, American Limb Preservation Society (ALPS)

Dr. Oliver Aalami
Vascular Surgery
Clinical Assoc. Professor of Surgery, Stanford University
Founder, VascTrac

Dr. Charles de Mestrel
Vascular Surgery
St. Michael’s Hospital
Asst. Professor, University of Toronto

Disclaimer: This interview was produced by The Way To My Heart in partnership with Vascular Cures. Neither The Way To My Heart nor Vascular Cures endorse any specific products, entrepreneurs, companies, organizations, and/or healthcare professionals, including diagnosis or treatment programs. The information, advice, and views shared in this interview are that of the individual speakers and are offered for educational and informational purposes only.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Don’t act on any information provided in this interview without the explicit consent of your own healthcare provider who knows your situation best.

If you think you are having a medical emergency, please go to the nearest emergency room or dial 911.

[1] Chase, M. R., Friedman, H. S., Navaratnam, P., Heithoff, K., & Simpson, R. J. (2016). Comparative Assessment of Medical Resource Use and Costs Associated with Patients with Symptomatic Peripheral Artery Disease in the United States. Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy,22(6), 667-675. doi:10.18553/jmcp.2016.15010

[1] Armstrong DG, Boulton AJM, Bus SA. Diabetic Foot Ulcers and Their Recurrence. N Engl J Med. 2017 Jun 15;376(24):2367-2375. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1615439. PMID: 28614678.

[1] Boulton AJM, Whitehouse RW. The Diabetic Foot. [Updated 2020 Mar 15]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK409609/[1] Phillips A, Mehl AA. Diabetes mellitus and the increased risk of foot injuries. J Wound Care. 2015 May;24(5 Suppl 2):4-7. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2015.24.Sup5b.4. PMID: 26079161.