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Amputation

What are our options?

01/02/2008

Question:

My husband has undergone several tests due to poor circulation in his right leg, (below the knee). We were told that he has 1 of 3 arteries going below the knee, traveling mid-way down his leg. (Not known if this is due to a birth defect or if they have disintegrated due to cardio vascular disease.)Of the one artery that he has, 30% blood supply is reaching his foot, as we were told that the artery is not reaching his foot to adequately supply blood flow. We were also advised his body has produced several ancillary veins growing from the artery. We have been advised that at this time, due to his age, (49) that a bypass should be delayed as it could be very dangerous since their really isn`t anything to connect to, and the risk of clots. We were advised that exercise should be increased in order to continue the growth of ancillary veins to enable an increase in his blood supply--however, the pain in his foot is so severe, that at times he can barely walk, making exercise almost impossible. Could you give advice on, what are options might be? Is there anyway to attach, blood supply back to his foot, using harvested or artificial veins/arteries? This news has taken us aback and we really do not understand what or if there are any options available to us besides making him bare the pain or him possibly losing his leg.

Answer:

The answer depends on a review of the actual angiograms that I imagine have already been done. My recommendation would be to seek another opinion if there is any doubt in your mind about other options available and to take the angiogram films with you. It sounds as though your husband is at high risk for limb loss.

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Response by:

Jean  E Starr, MD Jean E Starr, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Vascular Surgery
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University