"The attention of the vascular team saved my leg," said John. "I am forever in their debt."
After decades filled with sports and activity resulted in painful arthritis in both his knees, John Ward decided to have bilateral knee replacement surgery sooner rather than later. John, an echocardiographer in the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center community for more than 20 years, didn’t have to go far for his procedure. The surgery went well and he was healing rapidly. Then, John fell from a chair. The unfortunate accident snapped the tendon in his left quadricep, tearing it from his knee.
Another surgery quickly repaired the tendon, but left John with more healing to do. Doctors advised that John keep his leg straight and immobilized in order to protect the repaired tendon and allow it to heal. "I was Spartan about keeping my leg straight," said John. "With no movement, blood flow was restricted."
Two months into his recuperation, John noticed that his left leg hurt and had become warm, red, and swollen. "It felt like when your entire leg goes to sleep, aching and throbbing," he said. John contacted his physical therapist for a second opinion and was ultimately connected with Riyad Karmy-Jones, MD, a vascular surgeon at PeaceHealth Medical Group.
An ultrasound confirmed a massive blood clot in his left leg that resulted in Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a condition that develops in the veins of the arms or legs when they become partially or completely blocked as a result of a clot. This serious and potentially life threatening condition occurs when blood flows into the affected limb, but is blocked from returning to the heart.
John was immediately taken to the cardiovascular intensive care unit where the team worked to save John's leg. Dr. Karmy-Jones managed the procedure, using a combination of an ultrasonic Ekos catheter and a drug tissue plasminogen activator or tPA to break up the clot. The team monitored John's progress over the next 18 hours and was amazed at the results. During that time, nearly the entire clot was dissolved.
"In my estimation, the attention of the vascular team saved my leg," said John. "I am forever in their debt."
Now that John has healed and rehabbed his knees, he is careful about not sitting in one position for a long time in order to lessen the possibility of a new clot. He is also on a regimen of an aspirin a day to help his blood flow. Today, John has mobility back and says his life is richer for it.