Patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease may lose their limb to amputation if there are no vascular surgeons to attend to them. Research findings report that areas of the country where there are more vascular surgeons, report less number of cases where patients of peripheral arterial disease have suffered through an amputation.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is often not diagnosed till late, as often the only symptom experienced is a recurring pain in the legs. This may be dangerous for the patients as if undiagnosed PAD can lead to coronary artery disease and carotid atherosclerosis. Patients suffering from PAD are also at increased risk from heart attack or stroke. PAD accounts for a major number of amputations each year.
PAD conditions may often improve and amputations avoided by bypass surgery that improves blood circulation of the limbs and is performed by a vascular surgeon.
According to the research report, for 0.3% increase in the number of vascular surgeons in the area, there happens almost 1% increase in the number of bypass surgeries performed and 1.6% reduction of number of amputation cases. The research also reports that there was a substantial variation in the locations of the vascular surgeons all over the country.
Reference: Journal of Vascular Surgery, July 2005