Saving lives and limbs
Retired meat cutter William Accomondo enjoys the simple pleasure of standing on his own two feet these days, thanks to the advanced care provided by Midwest Aortic & Vascular Institute.
What started out as a simple sore on his foot put Accomondo on a path to possibly losing his right leg.
“It was a circulation problem. Two bypass surgeries (to reroute the blood supply around his blocked arteries) didn’t help, and I kept developing wounds that wouldn’t heal. My toes went all black and blue on me,” says Accomondo.
His blood flow compromised, Accamondo required amputation of four toes on his right foot.
Accomondo isn’t alone. Approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year. Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI) – Accomondo’s diagnosis – is a severe blockage of the arteries that reduces blood flow to the extremities and progresses to the point of pain, skin ulcers and sores. People with CLI have up to a 40 percent chance of amputation within the first 6 months that symptoms present.
Those most at risk have diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease or a history of smoking.
Rounds of hyperbaric oxygen therapy helped, but not enough. Accomondo developed new sores on his big toe and heel that just wouldn’t heal properly. While waiting for his scheduled leg amputation surgery, Accomondo’s doctors at Midwest Aortic & Vascular Institute presented him with a hail Mary option. Fortunately, he was an ideal candidate for participation in a clinical trial offered in Kansas City only through Midwest Aortic & Vascular Institute.
The Harvest Technologies trial sought to determine if injections of concentrated bone marrow stem cells (non-embryonic) into damaged tissues would result in improved blood flow, reduce pain and save the limb. Bone marrow aspirate was collected and processed to remove the red blood cells. The resulting concentrate of cells was injected back into Accomondo’s leg tissue.
Though the study was double blinded – meaning that neither study participants nor researchers know who is getting a placebo and who is getting the treatment – Accomondo’s condition improved markedly.
Today, he can walk on his right leg without pain and no new wounds have developed. After facing amputation, he’s grateful his leg was saved. “I’m ecstatic about it,” says Accomondo.
Are you a candidate for a vascular clinical trial? Ask your MAVI care provider for information.