A Londoner with a family history of diabetes and amputation had her foot saved in a pioneering procedure that saw vascular interventional radiologists restoring the blood flow with the use of micro-wires and balloons.
The photo, above left, shows the patient’s foot before the procedure with the white areas showing where there is little or no blood flow.
The middle image shows the micro wire and balloon used to reopen the artery and, on the far right, how blood flow has been restored.
May Gerald, 58, first realised something was wrong while holidaying in Greece when an ulcer appeared on her big toe and her foot began to ache.
She visited her local hospital for treatment but a week later her toe turned first blue and then black prompting the amputation of four toes on her left foot.
The mother of two said: “I was really frightened I was going to lose my leg above the knee because I have two relatives who lost their lower legs to amputation through diabetes.
Lorenzo Patrone, a Vascular and Interventional Radiologist at Northwick Park Hospital, carried out the three hour ‘mini-vasive’ procedure to save her foot.
Dr Patrone said: “We entered the artery through a small puncture wound in the groin but it was incredibly difficult to navigate as the vessels had been reduced to a diameter of 2mm.
“The patient would have lost her lower leg eventually so it was a case of painstakingly probing and rerouting until we could navigate an alternate passage which reconnected the blood supply to her entire foot."
It involved navigating the plantar loop that supplies blood around the foot as well as recanalizing the arterial foot arch.
May recently got her groove back after realising she could still dance at a family celebration. The 58 year-old said she had soul singer Luther Vandross to thank for getting her back on her feet along with a little help from Lorenzo.