TGH Heart and Vascular Institute Opens First and Only Limb Preservation Program in the RegionPublished: Mar 14, 2023
Tampa General’s Limb Preservation-Peripheral Arterial Disease Program expands to new Tampa location offering comprehensive, coordinated care.
Tampa, FL (March 14, 2023) – The Tampa General Hospital (TGH) Heart & Vascular Institute is opening a new satellite clinic for its . The program is the first and only of its kind in the Tampa Bay region to offer a truly multi-disciplinary, integrated and evidence-based approach to the management and care of patients with complex PAD. Opening on March 22, the program seeks to prevent limb amputations through early identification and treatment of patients with critically low limb blood flow due to a severe blockage in the arteries (limb ischemia or non-healing leg wounds).
“The care of patients with limb ischemia or chronic wounds at risk for amputation really requires an integrated, collaborative, evidence-based approach to give someone the best chance of limb salvage,” said Dr. Charles J. Bailey, assistant professor in the Division of Vascular Surgery in the Department of Surgery in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, director of TGH’s Vascular Center of Excellence and medical director of Tampa General’s Limb Preservation-PAD Program.
“Our team of surgeons and specialists embrace the newest research and technology and work as partners to provide a treatment plan as unique as each patient. The Limb Preservation Program’s new clinic will represent the first off-campus satellite clinic for the Heart & Vascular Institute and offers a novel level of care to our community. Many non-traumatic (not caused by an injury) amputations are preventable, and programs like ours have proved to reduce amputation rates and improve quality of life for PAD patients.”
The Limb Preservation Program is part of the TGH Heart & Vascular Institute’s Vascular Center of Excellence. The program’s clinic location at the TGH Heart & Vascular Institute South Tampa, 1202 S. Church Ave. in Tampa, offers patients at risk for limb loss convenient access to comprehensive wound care, podiatry services and vascular care.
“Our ultimate goal is to prevent every amputation we can. We have recruited a team of podiatrists, wound nurses and vascular surgeons who are leaders in the treatment of complex PAD, with multiple peer-reviewed publications, textbook chapters and national presentations on the topic. Our new Limb Preservation Program’s clinic enhances our community’s access to that level of expertise, especially for the underserved population, who we know are at increased risk of amputations in the U.S.,” said Dr. Guilherme Oliveira, professor and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and vice president and chief of the TGH Heart & Vascular Institute. “With this new clinic location, we will be able to treat more patients, save more limbs and improve more lives.”
Patients and conditions treated by Tampa General’s Limb Preservation-PAD Program include:
- Patients with a history of peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
- Leg pain from lack of blood flow
- Diabetic foot infections or neuropathic ulcers
- Non-healing lower extremity wounds or ulcerations
The new clinic offers limb preservation treatments ranging from specialized wound care and goal-directed medical therapy for vascular diseases to open vascular bypass and minimally invasive stent therapies. Tampa General’s Heart & Vascular Institute surgeons are also actively involved in clinical research, including participation in the BEST-CLI trial to help determine whether stent or surgical treatments are more effective for critical limb threatening ischemia.
The Limb Preservation Program also features a first-of-its-kind Limb Alert system developed by Bailey to expedite the diagnosis and management of patients with acute limb ischemia, designed to prevent limb loss. For example, if a patient comes to Tampa General Hospital with an infected wound or restricted blood flow to a limb, the Limb Alert is activated, which, similar to a hospital Code Blue, immediately notifies the Limb Preservation Program team.
“Limb salvage and an amputation-free survival is directly dependent on how fast we can diagnose and reverse the problem. The Limb Alert allows our team to rapidly diagnose and restore blood flow in order to improve limb salvage potential,” Bailey said.
Diabetes is a major risk factor for those with PAD. There are 154,000 lower-extremity amputations each year in the U.S. in adults with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 400 non-traumatic lower limb amputations are performed in the U.S. every day, of which 50% are associated with diabetes.
“Many of these surgeries are to remove a leg or foot due to non-healing chronic ulcers (open sores) and nerve damage. Amputation should always be a last resort,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lester, director of Wound Care at Tampa General. “We treat each patient with compassion, tailor treatment plans to meet their unique needs and we are in constant communication with them and the rest of the Limb Preservation Program care team to ensure the best outcome – saving a functional limb and providing a higher quality of life for the patient,” Lester said.
A patient seeking care at the new Heart & Vascular Institute Limb Preservation Program clinic can expect an evaluation by a vascular, wound or podiatry specialist, a review of their medical history and previous medical procedures, as well as support from a Limb Preservation Program coordinator and vascular services nurse navigator. The multidisciplinary team takes a patient-first approach to excellent clinical care by streamlining the patient journey, connecting the patients to resources to help them manage their vascular disease and providing education on lifestyle changes that can reduce risk factors for peripheral arterial disease.
More information about the Limb Preservation and Complex Peripheral Arterial Disease Program at the TGH Heart &Vascular Institute South Tampa is at . Appointments with the Limb Preservation and Complex Peripheral Arterial Disease Program can be made online or by calling the TGH Heart & Vascular Institute’s direct line (813) 844-3900 or by emailing LimbPreservation@tgh.org.
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