Posted: Feb 28, 2013 5:11 PM by Olivia LaBorde
Updated: Feb 28, 2013 6:06 PM
BATON ROUGE - Hilda Broussard was all smiles during her doctor's visit this morning, but only a month ago she was dealing with some devastating news. She learned the blood flow to her leg was so bad it would have to be cut off.
"Without a leg you can't get around like you need to. And I didn't want to be in a wheelchair," she said.
But her son saw a story first aired on News 2 back in January, about a new less-invasive surgical procedure that unblocks arteries in the leg. Most who need it are suffering peripheral artery disease or PAD and deal with complications of diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking or elevated cholesterol.
"I thank God. That's the first thing that came to my mind. I said 'Thank you Lord I will save my leg,'" she said.
Dr. Glen Schwartzberg performed her surgery using what's called the Ocelot catheter.
"It's not a therapeutic catheter in the sense that it doesn't remove any blockage. But it allows you to cross the blockage so you can remove the plaque that causes the obstruction," says Dr. Schwartzberg.
The device was approved by the FDA a couple of months ago. Baton Rouge General is the only hospital in the state right now that performs this surgery.
"It's really been eye opening. Clearly I'm still kind of in the learning phase because it is so new. But the more it's used the more everybody learns from it."
As for Broussard, her leg is healing nicely Dr Schwartzberg says. And she looking forward to using it after coming so close to losing it.
"I thought I would've been a big burden. Now I'm not." Says Broussard.
About 12 million Americans suffer from PAD. According to the American Heart Association.