New Comprehensive Critical Limb Ischemia Program Saves Limbs and Lives

Hospitals are known for teamwork when difficult cases come through the doors. Jerry Gifford, 66, found help at The Christ Hospital that he couldn't find anywhere else.

"Oh man, they're wonderful and I love this hospital. I've been coming here since 2007," said Jerry.

Jerry suffers from the one-two punch of heart disease and diabetes. Both can wreck havoc on blood circulation in the legs and feet. He developed ulcers on his feet, which is common in cases like his. He had constant pain in his legs and his feet felt cold all the time. But what Jerry fears the most is amputation.

"I was scared to death about losing my feet, my toes or my legs," he said.

The likelihood of amputation for Jerry has gone way down for patients in our new program, which offers an innovative approach to circulation problems.

JD Corl, MD, leads the team involved in the Comprehensive Critical Ischemia Program

"These patients with critical ischemia have severe pain in their legs and wounds on their feet. These wounds simply will not heal without adequate blood flow," said Dr. Corl.

Dr. Corl and his team restore blood flow by opening blocked arteries in the feet and legs, and use catheters during angioplasty-type techniques. The procedures are technical, slow and often have to be repeated. These are some of the reasons many hospitals don't offer the treatment. Dr. Corl calls the program "a marathon" for the team and the patient.

"Amputation is often the treatment and unfortunately about a quarter of these patients will have an amputation in one year without treatment," said Dr. Corl.

Amputation is a short-term fix for patients. Dr. Corl said the quality of life for the patient goes down, the cost of care goes up and mortality goes up, too. "Half of patients who have an amputation will die within year of the surgery," said Dr. Corl.

Jerry may need another procedure to save his feet and legs, but he has also seen improvements. Jerry said his leg pain has decreased and he feels warmth in his feet for the first time in a long time. He also has a future goal.

"I think the good Lord is going to let me get up and one of these days, walk again," he said.

Currently, our program is the only program of its kind in Greater Cincinnati. The team is accepting new patients who would like to be evaluated. Click Comprehensive Critical Ischemia Program to learn more or call 513-557-LIMB (5462). 

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