John Jacobsen is a relatively quiet man until you ask him about his love for walking.
“I’ve been active all my life,” said Mr. Jacobsen, a 71-year-old retiree from Mount Laurel. “No matter how hard I worked in a day, I always enjoyed my walks.” That was, until peripheral vascular disease (PVD) in his legs began to rob him of this simple pleasure.“I started having this sharp grabbing pain in my right leg whenever I walked even a short distance,” Mr. Jacobsen says. “It got so bad I couldn’t make it a half of a block before the pain became unbearable.”
A visit to his primary care physician, Nancy Beggs, M.D., resulted in a call to Zoltan Turi, M.D., Director of the Cooper Vascular Center.
“Mr. Jacobsen had the classic story for a patient suffering from peripheral vascular disease,” Dr. Turi says. His history included:
- Heart disease (a previous heart attack and coronary artery bypass surgery)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Smoking for many years
- Adult onset of diabetes
Diagnostic testing, measurements of ankle-brachial indexes and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirmed the suspicion that Mr. Jacobsen had narrowing and blockages in the major blood vessels supplying circulation to his right leg. Treatment was needed, but initially Mr. Jacobsen was hesitant.
“I didn’t want any more surgery, so I was delighted to hear that the doctors could now open the blocked blood vessels in my leg without it,” Mr. Jacobsen says.
Peripheral angioplasty involves threading a catheter in through the groin and advancing it to the disease area. A balloon catheter is used to open the affected area, and a tiny, fine mesh stent is placed as a permanent scaffolding to keep the vessel open.
“It is a quick procedure with minimal discomfort and downtime,” Dr. Turi says. “Patients who have dealt with crippling leg pain for years are astounded at how quickly they return to the activities of daily living.”
“I was back to walking in a short time,” Mr. Jacobsen says, “I’m up to over a mile now.”
Enjoying the warm weather, he says he is grateful to his Cooper doctors. “They gave me my life back. It’s as simple as that.”
For more information about the Cooper Vascular Center or to make an appointment with a Cooper University Hospital physician at an office near you, please call 1-800-8-COOPER (800-826-6737) to speak with a member of our physician referral and information service.