Lila’s Story: I Really Don’t Think I’d Be Here Today if Not For PVA
Lila Ward’s connection to PVA started back in late 1999. “Dr. Wengrovitz has been my doctor since that time and I think I might have been one of his first patients when he moved to San Antonio,” said Lila, from her home in Lake Hills, where she has lived since 1977.
A mother of five, grandmother of nine and great grandmother of 10, Lila enjoys traveling to visit family as often as she can. When she’s at home, she loves volunteering, attending state political conventions and walking with her beloved dog, appropriately named My Lady.
But over the years, Lila’s PAD (peripheral arterial disease) has kept her from traveling as much as she would like and has prevented her from walking without pain. In early 2000, she found herself in a hospital surgical holding room, at high risk of amputation. The revision surgery of an aortic femoral bypass had failed to restore enough blood flow to keep her leg working properly.
When Dr. Mark Wengrovitz came in to speak with her, he told her he thought he could help and they agreed to try one last time to save her leg. Dr. Wengrovitz performed an Axillobifemoral Bypass, a tricky procedure that links the axillary artery in the shoulder to the femoral arteries in the leg using a flexible plastic tube called a graft. This restores the blood supply to the leg.
The surgery was a success and the rest is happy history.
Nearly 20 years have passed since that fateful day. Lila still goes to PVA every six months for a checkup and she’s had revision surgeries a time or two over the years. “When I go in for my scans, I always see the same people and it’s good to see a familiar face,” she said. “They are very thorough and caring. They take their time with me and answer all my questions. The entire PVA staff is just a godsend for me.”
PAD is a Persistent Disease Requiring the Expertise of a Vascular Specialist
Lila was very fortunate to have been referred to PVA all those years ago. Why? PVA is comprised of a team of 20 experienced vascular surgeons dedicated to circulatory system disorders as they relate to arteries and veins. Vascular surgeons manage veins and arteries in every part of the body except the brain (neurosurgeons) and the heart (cardiovascular surgeons). In other words, they know the ins-and-outs of PAD more intricately than any other type of doctor.
PAD is a relatively common medical condition where a buildup of plaque, due to something called atherosclerosis, makes it difficult for blood to circulate through the arteries. Over time, the arteries can become so narrow that it is difficult for blood to bring oxygen to the muscles, tissue and organs. Clots can form when plaque breaks off and enters the bloodstream. PAD primarily affects the legs, but can also damage arteries in the kidneys, abdomen, feet, ankles, pelvis, hips, buttocks and arms.
PAD Risk Factors:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels
- Heart disease
- Family history of heart or vascular disease
- Overweight (Body Mass Index over 30)
- Lack of exercise and/or sedentary lifestyle
- Over 70 years old (or over 50 if you also smoke and/or have diabetes)
Reducing risk factors, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, losing weight and smoking cessation are often the first steps in the management of PAD. If these measures fail to improve the condition enough, angioplasty or stenting may be performed to improve circulation. For more advanced cases, surgical bypass or endarterectomy may be necessary to improve blood flow. Rest assured, the vascular specialists at PVA will take into consideration each patient’s anatomy, symptoms and risks carefully before creating an individualized treatment plan.
Lila has high regard and warm feelings for her trusted doctor and surgeon, Dr. Wengrovitz. “He’s always there for me and he never gives up,” said Lila. “Today, my life is full and I am able to watch my grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. I am so grateful to PVA for that.”
Dr. Wengrovitz and the entire PVA team invite you to schedule an appointment for an in-office evaluation at PVA. Click here to schedule one now.