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Vascular Services

Vascular disease affects blood vessels, critical arteries and circulation in the legs and arms. This disease impacts just as many people each year as cancer.

Peripheral vascular disease is the leading cause of amputations in this country, and there is a particularly high incidence in upstate South Carolina.

Peripheral vascular disease generally strikes those over the age of 45 and is a frequent complication of diabetes. Factors that create higher-than-average risk include smoking, excess weight, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart problems and a family history of artery disease.

Self Regional was the first hospital in the state to dedicate a full team to treating vascular disease. We have a comprehensive facility specifically designed for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with circulatory problems. Non-invasive testing and treatment is the hallmark of the vascular services.

Our program features fellowship-trained surgeons, a dedicated, highly specialized vascular operating suite, a certified vascular lab and the first dedicated vascular nursing unit in the state. Patients benefit from the full devotion of surgeons, nurses, technicians, operating room staff and rehabilitation staff. This multidisciplinary team approach assures expedient and expert care. All possible surgical, endovascular and medical options are available.

Vascular surgeons concentrate on the medical and surgical treatment of peripheral vascular disease. These highly trained physicians are specialists in diagnosis, management, critical care and surgical and endovascular techniques for the treatment of vascular disease.

The vascular lab is located within Self Regional Medical Center, ensuring that patients receive very good supportive care from other specialists. Patients are able to receive this care close to home, family and friends.

The vascular lab at Self has had one of the lowest mortality rates in South Carolina in recent years, outranking many leading medical centers in our region.*

*The mortality rate was risk adjusted.

Diagnosis

Noninvasive vascular evaluations offer a number of advantages. These sophisticated tests are painless and can document the presence, location and severity of vascular disease. In addition, the noninvasive nature of the exam greatly reduces patient risk and enhances patient comfort when compared to invasive diagnostic procedures. Each comprehensive evaluation includes a complete problem-focused history, performance of the test with a hard copy and/or video recording of the data, physician-interpreted results, and readily available reports.

The noninvasive tests to diagnose vascular disease are conducted in the vascular lab at Self Regional. The lab was the first in the state, and one of the first 24 in the nation, to be recognized by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories (ICAVL). The lab is accredited by the ICAVL and is committed to providing high-level patient care and quality testing.

Two major diagnostic tools in the lab are the Duplex Ultrasound and CT Sonography. The Duplex Ultrasound is a 98-percent accurate and painless procedure that allows the physician to see inside the artery to measure blood flow and the size of any blockages or aneurysms. The patient is able to view the procedure on a color monitor as it is being performed by a registered vascular technologist. CT Sonography can link real-time images to the operating room. This technology is painless, without radiation, and it allows for immediate analysis or referral for treatment planning.

Some peripheral vascular conditions can be treated without surgery through the use of drugs and other therapies such as those listed below. These approaches can sometimes be used as a first line of defense to help patients understand and reduce risk factors.

Antiplatelet therapy
This treatment for an ischemic stroke aims to improve a patient's blood flow. Platelet-inhibiting drugs can reduce the tendency for blood to clot by preventing blood platelets from sticking together as they pass through narrowed arteries.

TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) and urokinase
These powerful drugs may prevent or minimize damage to the brain and potential disabilities by dissolving a clot and restoring blood flow when administered to a patient within three hours of the onset of a stroke. For greatest accuracy and lowest risk, the drugs may be administered by catheter.

Medication for claudication
A doctor may prescribe medication to clear blocked arteries and improve circulation in the legs to help patients begin walking again.

Wound care therapy
Patients with non-healing wounds can benefit from comprehensive care provided by our multidisciplinary team of nurses, wound care specialists, therapists and surgeons.

Treatments

In choosing between different treatments for vascular problems, our goal is always to provide the least invasive procedure available. While we have extensive experience providing patients with minimally invasive treatment, board-certified vascular surgeons are always on call, able to provide the full scope of vascular surgery.

We are proud that the endovascular surgical suite at Self Regional is one of the most advanced in the Southeast. This computerized room features a special table that allows full-body X-rays with no obstruction. High-resolution digital data provides the surgeons with detailed information and is another example of how Self Regional brings advanced care closer to people in upstate South Carolina.

Carotid endarterectomy
To help prevent stroke – the third leading cause of death in the country – blockages in the carotid artery are removed in order to restore blood flow to the brain. The majority of patients are able to go home the next day. Self Regional has been recognized as having one of the lowest complication and length of stay rates in the state. We were awarded five stars, the highest ranking from HealthGrades®, for our carotid endarterectomy procedures.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (open and endovascular)
This procedure saves lives by repairing worn-out sections of the artery in the abdomen. A graft is attached through the inside of the aneurysm to prevent rupture. If possible, this surgery is done with a minimally invasive technique, avoiding major surgery and minimizing hospitalization and recovery time. Self Regional received a five-star ranking for this procedure in 2003. Nationwide, ruptures of aortic aneurysms are 90 percent fatal and a leading cause of death.

However, early detection with a simple test and treatment can greatly improve patient outcomes.

Endovascular bypass/limb salvage bypass
We also received HealthGrades’® highest ranking for these procedures used to bypass blocked arteries (primarily in the legs) in order to avoid amputation or simply help people walk more easily. Minimally invasive techniques decrease the patient's risk of infection and significantly improve recovery time.

Iliac artery angioplasty and stenting
In a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, stent implantation and balloon angioplasty are used to clear blocked arteries and allow significant improvements in patients' ability to walk.

Vena cava filter placement
This procedure is used to prevent fatal blood clots from moving from the legs to the heart or lungs. The physician uses catheters and guide wires to place a filter that protects the heart and lungs from blood clots that develop in the legs. The procedure is minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis.

Renal artery angioplasty or surgery
When there is a blockage in the renal artery, this corrective surgery creates a bypass to the kidneys to control blood pressure. This procedure can be performed as an open or endovascular surgery.

Varicose vein surgery
To treat large, dilated and often-visible veins in the legs, we use the latest minimally invasive techniques such as laser and microwave catheterization.

Other special vascular procedures

Self also offers these services, depending on the specific needs of the patient:

Please search our physician directory by clicking here or call (864) 725-6058 for the name of a physician in your area.