Knowing when it’s time to seek care
For months, Sandi suffered chronic pain and weakness in her right arm and hand. Performing even the most basic of tasks such as showering, cleaning the house and washing the dishes left the 52-year-old exhausted. She even began to feel light headed and a tingling in her face, which made her anxious and worried about her health.
“I kept seeing my nurse practitioner regarding the progression of my condition,” Sandi said. “I was referred to a few other doctors and no resolution. Instead, it got progressively worse. Eventually, I couldn’t even use or find a pulse in my arm.”
As Sandi’s nurse practitioner learned more about her symptoms, she began to think Sandi may have a vascular problem. An MRI and ultrasound indicated there was abnormal blood flow in her neck and arm. Sandi was referred to a vascular surgeon in Indiana.
Sandi’s daughter, who works for Mercy Health, recommended St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. After meeting Mercy Health’s vascular surgeon, Dr. Robert Hacker, Sandi knew she was in good hands.
“I was extremely impressed; He was on it. I really felt as though from start to finish, he was advising me and guiding the whole team. Even with the people who did the additional testing at St. Vincent, he was in contact with them informing them what he needed and getting immediate results from the tests.”
Finding a minimally invasive solution
Dr. Hacker diagnosed Sandi with an innominate artery stenosis, estimated to be more than 95 percent narrowed. Her symptoms were due to artery steal syndrome, a condition where blood is re-routed to the arm by diverting or stealing blood from the head and neck.
In Sandi’s case, her disease was so advanced that she was stealing blood from her brain when she was active, which is why she had begun to feel lightheaded.
Dr. Hacker saw Sandi on a Friday. On Monday morning, he performed a carotid artery cut down, where he then placed a stent in her narrowed artery.
“Her pathology was quite significant, up until recently, a repair like this would have required her to undergo open heart surgery so she could have a bypass operation. Her recovery would be on the order of weeks and she would have had a sizable scar down her chest.” Dr. Hacker said. “We performed the procedure in two hours via a one-inch incision in her neck; 20 hours later she walked out of hospital with a pulse in her hand and her anxiety left at the door.”
Sandi is now excited to resume her daily activities. “I’m taking it slow, but I’m already noticing a huge difference,” she said. “My arm is able to move easier. I am able to live without fatigue or anxiety.”
If you’re seeking advanced, compassionate care, the Mercy Health team is here for you. Find a doctor near you today.