An estimated 25 million Americans are at risk for vascular disease, which results from the narrowing of arteries or veins that carry blood throughout the body. Vascular disease can range from minor conditions, such as varicose veins, to life-threatening situations that include strokes.

Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center is the only hospital in Montgomery County to offer a comprehensive continuum of care for patients with vascular diseases. Lorena deLeon, Adventist HealthCare’s manager of vascular services, says, “In addition to prescreening and diagnosing, we can perform minimally invasive interventional treatments as well as open surgical repairs if needed.”

Getting to the Diagnosis

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is one of the most common vascular conditions, affecting one in 20 Americans older than 50, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. PAD, which increases the risk for a heart attack or stroke, occurs when arteries that carry blood to the legs become clogged with plaque.

“Some people with PAD don’t experience any symptoms,” says Robert Fox, M.D., vascular surgeon at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. “The most common symptoms are fatigue in leg muscles, leg or foot pain, sores or wounds on the feet or legs, color changes on the foot and a lower temperature in one leg.”

Dr. Fox encourages anyone with these symptoms to speak to their doctors about a vascular screening test.

Addressing the Condition

Once patients are diagnosed and treated for a vascular condition, they may require rehabilitation through monitored exercise or physical therapy, also provided on the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center campus.

Certain populations are at greatest risk for developing vascular conditions, including the elderly and individuals with diabetes. Other factors include family history, smoking, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of exercise.

“Risks for vascular diseases can be minimized with treatment and prevented with a healthy diet, daily exercise, reduced stress and a tobacco-free lifestyle,” Dr. Fox says.

Modern Vascular Procedure Saves a Gaithersburg Man’s Life

Albert Katoski, 88, of Gaithersburg remembers the excruciating pain. Jeane, his wife of 65 years, remembers their vascular surgeon’s directive: Get him to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s emergency department immediately.

Katoski’s thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA) was rupturing.

“A rupture of this type of aneurysm is usually fatal,” says Katoski’s vascular surgeon, Jeffrey Wang, M.D. “Here, the aneurysm started in his chest area and extended into the abdomen. When it ruptured it resulted in massive bleeding and he needed immediate surgery.”

Dr. Wang and his partner, vascular surgeon Robert Fox, M.D., performed Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s first minimally invasive repair of a ruptured TAAA, a groundbreaking and complex procedure.

“With endovascular surgery, we prevented a large incision,” Dr. Wang says. “We were able to use the latest technology to preserve blood flow to the intestines, kidneys, spleen and liver while fixing the aneurysm.”

Katoski was discharged from the hospital just 36 hours after surgery. “I was surprised how quickly I was able to go home,” he says. “I was lucky they caught it in time, and happy to have the surgeons I did.”