CONTACT: TOM MOORE
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Aug. 24, 2000
UIHC to conduct free peripheral vascular disease screenings, cholesterol
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Health Care will conduct free screenings
for people at risk for peripheral vascular disease (PVD), a potentially fatal
disease affecting eight million Americans. Other tests, including cholesterol
checks and ultrasound examinations that can detect life-threatening aneurysms
in the abdomen, will also be provided free of charge. The screening will be
Saturday, Sept. 23 from 8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UI Hospitals and Clinics at
200 Hawkins Drive in Iowa City.
Frequently associated with stroke or heart attack, PVD is caused by blocked
blood flow in the arteries of the legs and often causes pain, coldness, difficulty
walking, hair loss, skin discoloration, tingling or numbness in the feet or
legs, and infections or sores on the feet that are slow to heal. UI Hospitals
and Clinics is taking part in "Legs for Life -- National Screening Week
for PVD Leg Pain," Sept. 17-23. The program is sponsored by the Society
of Cardiovascular & Interventional Radiology (SCVIR), the national professional
society of interventional radiologists. These physicians treat PVD and many
other conditions using minimally invasive procedures that are alternatives
to open surgery. UI Heart Care, a heart and vascular center at UI Hospitals
and Clinics, is sponsoring the screening. The event is being coordinated by
Mel Sharafuddin, M.D., professor and head of the division of vascular/interventional
radiology in the department of radiology.
"Early detection and treatment of vascular disease is important to
successfully controlling the disorder," said Sharafuddin. "The sooner
PVD is detected and treated, the better the chances to manage the disease
with exercise and risk management such as improved diet and smoking cessation.
That's why we feel this screening is such a crucial public health service."
It is necessary to make an appointment for the screening by calling UI Health
1-800-777-8442 or (319)-384-8442. Screening participants will be provided
convenient, close-in parking at no cost. Valet service will also be available
free of charge. Screening participants can turn east off Hawkins Drive (at
the traffic light on the south end of Kinnick Stadium) and park at the south
entrance of the John Pappajohn Pavilion.
"It is also crucial to understand that PVD is strongly associated with
very high risk for future heart attack or stroke. Hence, PVD should be regarded
as an early warning sign to the presence of otherwise asymptomatic, but potentially
lethal cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease," Sharafuddin said.
People with appointments to be screened will be asked to fill out a questionnaire
and information form to help determine their risk for PVD. A brief screening
exam will be done to obtain blood pressure readings in the person's arm and
ankle to further assess the potential for disease. People who appear to be
at moderate or high risk for PVD will be advised to see their personal physician
for additional evaluation.
Vascular disease such as PVD is most common among men and women over the
age of 50, people diagnosed with diabetes, smokers and people with high blood
pressure or high cholesterol levels. "PVD starts so quietly that many
people don't realize that they have a problem," added Rick Lyerly, MD,
vascular/interventional radiologist. "Many think that they are simply
feeling the natural effects of aging, when they could actually have something
very serious developing."
More than 77,000 patients were screened at 525 U.S. hospitals during Legs
for Life week in September of 1999. Nearly one out of four patients were found
to be at moderate or high risk for PVD and were referred to their primary
care physicians for further evaluation. For more information about Legs for
Life, visit online http://www.legsforlife.org/.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care,
medical education and research programs and services they provide.