Rambam Medical Center in Haifa said on Sunday that in the last two years, it has
saved the limbs of 521 such patients by performing “leg catheterizations” that
supply blood to the limb and keep it alive.
World Diabetes Day will be
marked around the world to increase awareness of Type II Diabetes, which affects
many millions of people around the globe and is largely due to improper eating,
obesity and lack of exercise.
Amputation of a foot or leg used to be
common among Israelis with complications from uncontrolled diabetes, with about
1,000 such operations a year.
Diabetics with complications may suffer
from “diabetic foot” – sores that are difficult to heal and cause the limbs to
deteriorate and turn gangrenous, requiring amputation.
catheterization makes it possible to renew blood supply and prevent or treat
infections, and the procedure can be repeated if the problem returns, Rambam
Rambam radiologists and interventional cardiologists have
undergone special training to perform the procedure, which is available in only
a few medical centers in the world. Dr. Igor Kogan, a senior interventional
cardiologist and head of the radiological endovascular service at the Haifa
hospital, studied the technique abroad with the aim at removing blockages in the
vessels of the legs. He is one of the few physicians in Israel able to perform
Kogan said that the increase in such procedures is due to better
awareness among diabetologists and other specialists that legs do not
necessarily have to be amputated.
More experience makes it possible for
them to save legs that were hopeless cases before, he added.
catheterization is very delicate work, as the blood vessels are only a few
millimeters in diameter. A tiny inflatable balloon is pushed into the blood
vessels and inflated to open them so blood flow can resume and reach as far as
the bottom of the foot. The procedure, in which orthopedics, plastic surgeons
and endrocrinologists are also involved, takes about two-and-a-half hours and
requires only sedation and local anesthesia.
After one day’s
hospitalization, the patient is discharged.
Rambam is one of the few
centers that use carbon dioxide rather than iodine in the procedure so that
patients with kidney problems who are sensitive to iodine will not be harmed.