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Diabetic foot education is closer than you think – go to your community’s website to find events

Diabetic Foot Health: Keeping You On Your Feet

THURSDAY, OCT 25 10:00A TO 11:45A

at Carlsbad Senior Center, Carlsbad, CA

People with diabetes must be aware of how to prevent foot problems before they occur. Judy Greenhaw, RN, will discuss how to examine your own feet and recognize the early signs and symptoms of diabetic foot problems, know when to call the doctor, and how to recognize when a problem has become serious enough to seek emergency treatment.

Read the rest via Talks & Lectures: Diabetic Foot Health: Keeping You On Your Feet at Carlsbad Senior Center on 10/25/12 – UTSanDiego.com.

Diana’s note:  If you want to learn more about serious health concerns, sometimes it’s worth it to take a look at your community calendar. Or, if you’re just not into scouring the Internet for local events that, quite frankly, don’t normally jump out and announce themselves if you have the inkling to start looking, here’s a tip:  set up alerts on a reader! For example, since I have a Gmail account, I use the Google Reader to alert me when terms like “diabetic foot ulcer” and “peripheral arterial disease” pop up on the web (hint:  this is where I get a lot of blog content to talk about). I find educational articles, news, and local events for screenings every single day.

So get out there and educate yourself! You won’t have to go far.

Speaking of not going far, take a look at our blogroll for the ArtAssist® device. You’ll quickly discover that it’s not just a machine – it’s a renewed sense of hope for patients whose limbs are threatened by severe arterial disease.

Thanks for reading! If you’re enjoying this content, please share it with your friends.

– Diana

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Dr. Paul van Bemmelen talks about treating PAD without surgery on eHealth Radio

Just in time for PAD Awareness Month is an interview by the very kindly Eric Michaels on the eHealth Radio podcast, “ArtAssist Paul van Bemmelen, MDtreatment helps poor circulation with Dr. Paul van Bemmelen“.

For being only 7 minutes long, this interview covers a lot of ground with the ArtAssist® device in a way that only Dr. van Bemmelen, as a key developer, can articulate. Listeners from all walks of life can learn a little bit from him as he exposes the harsh (yet unfortunately common) realities that patients with non-surgical PAD endure and more importantly, what your doctor can do to help you.

Excerpt:

Now, you have developed a device with ACI Medical to assist the arteries with the circulation called the ArtAssist®. What is it and how does that work?

Humans are unique because we are upright, and as long as we keep moving, our leg muscles are squeezing the blood back toThe ArtAssist Arterial Pump Device the heart and assist in the circulation work. But modern humans are typically not active enough. The ArtAssist® is essentially a strong massage device that people can use at home. It obtains the good effects of walking – that is, increased blood flow – without the bad effects of walking, such as the need for more oxygen in the leg muscles with more pain. Also, real walking can worsen the friction between the skin and the shoes, which causes problems in diabetes.

So go ahead and tune in! You definitely won’t be sorry you did.

Visit the eHealth Radio website to gain access to this interview and many more health-related topics, or click here to open the media player.

Also be sure to check out Dr. van Bemmelen’s most recent article for faim.org, “Walking therapy and pneumatic compression:  the natural cures for poor leg circulation”
Thanks! I hope you enjoy listening!
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“Walking Therapy and Pneumatic Compression: The Natural Cures for Poor Leg Circulation” | Paul van Bemmelen, MD, PhD, FACS

paul van bemmelen md phdYou’ve already seen Dr. Steven Kavros’ article on pneumatic compression device therapy published on faim.org (the Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine).

But just released is yet another article on pneumatic compression therapy with an emphasis on its natural approach to healing non-reconstructable PAD (peripheral arterial disease) patients. This time, FAIM.org is featuring Dr. Paul van Bemmelen, one of the very few vascular surgeons who have conducted the most advanced investigations into the capabilities of arterial pump technology for non-surgical patients with poor leg circulation.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. van Bemmelen’s latest article:

“Because healthcare providers are paid much more for invasive procedures, our healthcare system currently favors costly procedures as the primary solution for circulation problems. In Ireland, a study on 171 patients treated with the compression device, found a savings of about 1.5 million Euros compared to cost of amputation for a matched group of patients.”

In addition, this article gives insight into the origins of compression therapy and why previous attempts at treating PAD with with it had been largely unsuccessful prior to the development of the ArtAssist® device, technology to which Dr. van Bemmelen himself contributed a significant amount of his vascular expertise.

ArtAssist® Arterial Pump Technology is the pioneer for non-invasive intermittent pneumatic compression therapy. By mimicking the benefits of the most natural way of fighting arterial disease, this treatment is proven to provide long-term relief for patients suffering from poor circulation.

Look for the full article on faim.org!

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A PAD Patient with Less Pain | Margie C. on the ArtAssist® Device

Margie tells us that when she had first received the ArtAssist® device from us at ACI Medical, her problems were pretty common for a patient with severe PAD (peripheral arterial disease):

Leg pain when walking, leg cramps mostly at night, toe nails coming off + not growing back normally, swelling in feet and legs from poor circulation.

These days, her testimonial tells us that since Margie has started to use the ArtAssist® device, we are glad to hear that she has gone from having rest pain and imminent tissue loss to being a claudicator.

I still have some pain when walking, the leg cramps seldom, toes are better, and bad swelling only when I overdo. I believe the [ArtAssist®] machine has kept me from worse and I will continue to use it.

Though her symptoms have not completely dissipated, we at ACI are relieved to have provided her with the means to get her out of the danger zone. Her advice to other PAD sufferers:

I would advise anyone with PAD to give it a try.

Thank you for your story, Margie! We are, of course, here for you as your ArtAssist® device therapy continues and we wish you all the best.

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September is National PAD Awareness Month

PAD stands for peripheral arterial disease. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, PAD affects 8 to 12 million Americans. The severity of this disease’s symptoms can range from intermittent claudication (trouble walking long distances due to discomfort in the calf, thigh or hip) to gangrene and tissue death due to the utter lack of circulation in the foot.

All of us medically-conscious folks know how heart attacks are caused – if we eat too many hamburgers, spend a few too many hours lounging around, have picked up the habit of smoking, or are just genetically unfortunate, our arteries begin to harden (atherosclerosis) and plaque builds up over time, blocking important circulation from getting to the heart.

The same thing happens in our legs for the same reasons! Our PAD Category refers to a wealth of online articles about this disease that affects not only Americans, but millions of people around the world. One that I found highly informative, especially if you’re just learning about PAD, is this one published in The Times of India.

Working for a company whose medical devices come to the aid of patients suffering from severe PAD has given me both knowledge and hope for those who have run out of reliable treatment options.

For National PAD Awareness, I encourage you to educate yourself on what causes PAD, what treatments are typically prescribed, and where to look when even surgical intervention is not possible.

Since 1998, ArtAssist®…the Arterial Assist Device has helped many patients avoid PAD-related amputation. Read about what a few of them have to say.

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Using a Pneumatic Compression Device for Lower and Upper Extremity Peripheral Arterial Disease | FAIM.org

ArtAssist pneumatic compression device

ArtAssist®…The Arterial Assist Device®

by Steven Kavros, DPM

Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) of the lower limb is a well-documented method of arterial leg inflow enhancement in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The mechanism of action parallels the natural muscular contraction of the leg stimulating blood flow. There are three very short compression cycle per minute inflating a cuff encompassing the legs and or feet simulating the beneficial effects of walking. The rapid rise of the cuff pressure assists with emptying of the venous blood of the extremities and allows oxygenated blood to move down the limb delivering nutrients to deprived tissues. This simple mechanism of action also allows edema or swelling of the extremity to be relieved. By relieving swelling, additional oxygenated blood can be delivered to the ischemic limb. Additionally, there is an increase release of nitric oxide and certain tissue and platelet derived growth factors. The nitric oxide has a positive effect on the internal cells that line the vessel wall, enabling relaxation and improved flow. Other tissue and growth factors lead to the development of new blood vessels and therefore, improve the delivery of additional oxygen and nutrients to the extremity.

Read the rest via Using a Pneumatic Compression Device for Lower and Upper Extremity Peripheral Arterial Disease | Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine.

Since the Internet is all about getting info quickly and moving on, here’s what this medical jargon means in plain English…

Dr. Kavros is talking about a leg pump (what we’ll refer to as an arterial pump) that is proven to improve circulation to the legs and feet when the arteries are blocked. When your arteries are significantly blocked, your muscles start sending pain signals to your brain. This is called PAD –  think of it as a heart attack of the legs.

The way this arterial pump technology works is by simulating walking for your blood-deprived muscles. Instead of making you get up and walk, this therapy happens while you’re sitting in a chair. When you walk, blood in the veins travels up to your heart, gets refreshed and loaded with oxygen/nutrients, and then comes back down to feed the starving muscles. The better circulation you have in your legs, the less they will hurt.

Dr. Kavros says that this compression sequence can also reduce swelling. This pump compresses your leg three times per minute. If you use the pump for three hours a day, imagine how much more blood flow you’re getting!

A fringe benefit to this therapy that was recently discovered is your body’s natural release of nitric oxide. This substance is not to be confused with nitrous oxide, which is what your dentist will give you to make you laugh at his dumb jokes while he’s working on your teeth. When nitric oxide is released by the lining of your arteries, your blood vessels temporarily open up to accept more nutritious blood. Again, this happens three times a minute so that your blood vessels are constantly widened throughout therapy.

This is the compression technology Dr. Kavros is talking about:  The ArtAssist® device. To learn more, click the picture!

Update:  Dr. Paul van Bemmelen has also written an article for faim.org about pneumatic compression device therapy for PAD. Read it here

ArtAssist pneumatic compression device

ArtAssist®…The Arterial Assist Device®

 

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Hope in the Face of Amputation: Mary Tells Her Mother’s ArtAssist® Device Story

Diana’s note:  I’ve been digging around on the server lately for material I could use to add to this website. I came across two wonderful stories of patients whose lives were regained because they underwent ArtAssist® Device therapy. These people wished for their testimonials to be shared with others with the hope that anyone suffering from severe PAD would know that there’s one more hope before amputation.

Mary’s mother had run out of options and was on her way toward amputation when doctors suggested the ArtAssist® Device. Here is Mary’s letter to ACI Medical on behalf of her mother (identifying information has been omitted, but it is otherwise unabridged):

November 7, 2006
ACI Medical
1857 Diamond Street
San Marcos, CA 92078-5129

To Whom It May Concern:

A little over three months ago, my mother was an active and independent 83 year-old woman, who lived alone, drove a car and took walks around the block. She began to have a very cold foot, trouble walking and developed pain and ulcers on her left foot and ankle. (She experienced pain just putting a sock on her left foot). She became unable to take her walks, in fact, she would call us because she also experienced intermittent extreme pain and could not move from one room to the next without assistance.

She was diagnosed with peripheral vascular occlusive disease. Several tests and visits to specialists indicated my mother was not a candidate for bypass surgery. Amputation was discussed, which would have been necessary if she developed gangrene. In an effort to avoid amputation, the doctors suggested she take the prescriptions Plavex and Pletal and use the ARTERIAL ASSIST DEVICE.

My mother used the ARTERIAL ASSIST DEVICE along with the Plavex and Pletal for a three-month period. I am happy to report to you that my mother is again an active and independent 83 year-old woman who is taking walks around the block! Thank you to the inventors of the ARTERIAL ASSIST DEVICE!

I am writing this letter so that someone out there who may be as severe as my mother was would ask their doctor about trying this device in an effort to avoid amputation or surgery. Sometimes there is hope when you think hope doesn’t exist.

Sincerely,
Mary H., Southgate, MI

Next week, you’ll read about a patient whose left leg has been saved not once, but twice thanks to ArtAssist® Arterial Pump Technology!

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The ArtAssist® device presented by Dr. Sherif Sultan of the Western Vascular Institute

Dr. Sultan is a consultant vascular and endovascular surgeon who has been studying the ArtAssist® device in a clinical setting at his practice in Galway, Ireland.

An excerpt from his presentation at the 2009 Veith Symposium in New York (note that this is before the final results of this ongoing study were released):

Art-Assist SCBD is a valuable tool in the armamentarium for dealing with CLI patients with un-reconstructable PVD. It gives superior limb salvage, ameliorates amputation free survival, enhances ulcer healing rates, reduces length of hospital stay and provides rapid relief of rest pain without any intervention in patients with limited life expectancy.

http://www.veithsymposium.org/pdf/vei/2852.pdf

artassist compression sequence device

On a related note, Dr. Sultan’s website features a short video about the ArtAssist® device.

For those in Ireland, the ArtAssist® device is distributed by Deprimo, Ltd. (http://deprimo.ie/)

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Regaining Mobility is No Longer a Pipe Dream! Donald’s ArtAssist® Device Experience

Diana’s note:  I’ve been digging around on the server lately for material I could use to add to this website. I came across two wonderful stories of patients whose lives were regained because they underwent ArtAssist® Device therapy. These people wished for their testimonials to be shared with others with the hope that anyone suffering from severe PAD would know that there’s one more hope before amputation.

Here is Donald’s letter to ACI Medical (identifying information has been omitted, but it is otherwise unabridged):

Email submission:

My wife and I rented the [ArtAssist® device] in June 2004. Between the time that we agreed to the rental, and the machine arriving at our home, I was placed in the hospital and subsequently had an amputation of the fourth toe on my right foot.

My first thank you is to the folks [at ACI] for their kindness and understanding, in adjusting the rental period, allowing me to get out of the hospital before starting the clock. The second thank you is for the extra cuffs that were provided to us when the original ones failed. Although you might not like to hear about your product failing, I was more than satisfied with the action we received from ACI.

Now, lets get to the real reason for my letter. In 2001, my blood flow in my lower legs was 62 in both legs. In 2004, that number dropped to 22 and 21, left and right respectively. Dr. ________ (my family doctor) had read about this apparatus [the ArtAssist® device] and suggested that I try the one he had gotten on loan from you. I did and as I mentioned above, then rented the device for three months and then purchased the machine.

I have been using this machine now for just over 6 months and had a Doppler test done last week. The results of which were beyond amazing. The normal number for a reasonably healthy individual is a percentage of blood pressure readings and would be 96 in both legs. My left leg is now 95, and my right leg is 91. Dr. ________ was as impressed as we were. I can’t begin to express my thanks for all you’ve done for me. I expect to be walking a golf course again this year. ONE YEAR AGO, I THOUGHT THAT WAS A PIPE DREAM!!!!!

Thank you again for all you’ve done, and I hope this letter will help convince others to at least try to turn back time.

Don, Ontario Canada

Stay tuned next week for another patient story of how an 83-year-old woman with foot pain and ulcers went from barely being able to put on a sock to taking walks around the block!

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The cost of lower-limb amputation

Recently, while summarizing key studies for a history and literature review that I’m working on, I was reminded that this particular

ArtAssist Arterial Assist Device IPC

Always remember to look for clinical evidence.

study (the abstract is below) also included comparative costs. Update:  download the finished History and Literature Review.

In this case, you will see that although SCBD (in other words, the ArtAssist® device) therapy doesn’t seem cheap at first, it’s still less than half the average cost of a primary amputation.

Want to hear even better news? This study yielded an 88% limb salvage rate, even after 18 months.

Edit:  A 3-month rental of ArtAssist®…The Arterial Assist Device® in the United States ($1200) is more than 36 times less expensive than the cost of primary amputation per patient, according to the following study. And even if you take the SCBD patient cost (below), it still sounds like a better deal to me.

Nonoperative Active Management of Critical Limb Ischemia: Initial Experience Using a Sequential Compression Biomechanical Device for Limb Salvage

Sherif Sultan; Olubunmi Esan; Anne Fahy

Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Western Vascular Institute, University College Hospital Galway, Galway, Ireland

Vascular 2008;163:130-139

Critical limb ischemia CLI patients are at high risk of primary amputation. Using a sequential compression biomechanical device SCBD represents a nonoperative option in threatened limbs. We aimed to determine the outcome of using SCBD in amputation-bound nonreconstructable CLI patients regarding limb salvage and 90-day mortality.

Thirty-five patients with 39 critically ischemic limbs rest pain = 12, tissue loss = 27 presented over 24 months. Thirty patients had nonreconstructable arterial outflow vessels, and five were inoperable owing to severe comorbidity scores. All were Rutherford classification 4 or 5 with multilevel disease. All underwent a 12-week treatment protocol and received the best medical treatment.

The mean follow-up was 10 months SD ± 6 months. There were four amputations, with an 18-month cumulative limb salvage rate of 88% standard error [SE] ± 7.62%. Ninety-day mortality was zero. Mean toe pressures increased from 38.2 to 67 mmHg SD ± 33.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 55 – 79. Popliteal artery flow velocity increased from 45 to 47.9 cm/s 95% CI 35.9 – 59.7. Cumulative survival at 12 months was 81.2% SE ± 11.1 for SCBD, compared with 69.2% in the control group SE ± 12.8% p = .4, hazards ratio = 0.58, 95% CI 0.15 – 2.32. The mean total cost of primary amputation per patient is €29,815 ($44,000) in comparison with €13,900 ($20,515) for SCBD patients.

SCBD enhances limb salvage and reduces length of hospital stay, nonoperatively, in patients with nonreconstructable vessels.

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