GRH spearheads campaign to prevent limb amputation

Government Rajaji Medical College and Hospital has launched a campaign called ‘Love Your Limbs’ to make people aware of the symptoms and treatment for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a circulatory condition in which blocked blood vessels reduce blood flow to the legs.

This condition affects diabetic and geriatric patients more and can require limb amputation if not treated early, according to Saravanan Robinson, Head of Vascular Surgery at the GRH. WHO statistics indicate that 14 lakh PAD-triggered amputations are performed in the country every year, and below knee amputations are the commonest of them. With diabetic population rising in the country, it was a cause for concern.

Dr. Robinson said those suffering from diabetes and cerebro-vascular disease and 60 per cent of those with Ischemic Heart Disease are vulnerable to infections and ulcers developing in their leg or foot. The figures for diabetic foot patients in the country were also alarming, he said.

Those who suffered claudication – recurrent pain in their thighs and calf region that aggravated on walking and reduced after short rest – had to consult vascular surgeons as it was one of the most common early indicators. “Also for those who develop gangrene or non-healing wounds, the tissue dies of poor blood supply and it increases the risk of Critical Limb Ischemia and limb loss”, he added.

The treatment for PAD was patient-specific. “The site and stage of infection decide the treatment modality,” said Dr. Robinson. This included traditional peripheral bypass surgeries, minimally invasive endovascular and hybrid procedures. “If the affected arteries are tiny, the blood flow can be improved without surgical cuts. Advanced endovascular surgical procedures include invasive balloon angioplasty, stenting or directional atherectomy,” he said.

“The new-age technology helps to restore circulation in big and small arteries and save the patient’s leg or foot from amputation,” he added.

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