Clean Shaven

Minimally invasive technique boosts circulation in legs, feet.

Former sales associate Caroline Newsome, 72, is Florida born and bred. She’s a Gainesville native who moved to Winter Park ten years ago to be near her brothers, who previously relocated to the artsy city outside Orlando. Before retiring, Caroline spent her entire career working for the family business in Gainesville.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Caroline Newsome

“Our business was installing and servicing septic tanks and drain fields,” Caroline relates. “We installed wells and supplied portable toilets to job sites as well. We worked primarily with residential clients, but also with businesses for the portable toilets.

“I began with the family business when I was in high school, working over the summers to make extra money. As I got older, I just stayed with it. I started out at the bottom and worked my way up to outside sales, which I really liked because I like dealing with people. That was very enjoyable.”

What wasn’t enjoyable for Caroline was the persistent ulcer that recently developed on the big toe of her right foot. She worked with a podiatrist for a year and a half trying to heal that ulcer, which improved some but then got worse. Eventually, Caroline realized the problem stemmed from a chronic condition.

“I have diabetes and had no feeling in my legs and feet because the circulation down there was poor,” Caroline shares. “That contributed to my ulcer problem.

“When I looked at my feet at night after taking off my slippers, I would have little cuts on my toes from hitting them against my walker or the furniture. But I didn’t feel it when I hit them because my feet and legs were numb.”

Caroline had impaired blood flow elsewhere as well. She was also experiencing issues with her blood pressure. Her primary care physician referred her to a cardiologist, but Caroline couldn’t get an appointment with the specialist her doctor suggested.

Then, Caroline’s podiatrist recommended Pradip B. Baiju, MD, an endovascular specialist and interventional cardiologist at Heart and Vascular Care, which has offices in Longwood and Orlando.

Dr. Baiju specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and management of peripheral vascular and cardiac disease.

“When I called Heart and Vascular Care, we scheduled an appointment for the next day,” Caroline recalls. “Unfortunately, I don’t have a car. I have to give forty-eight hours notice to get a ride through my insurance, and I couldn’t find anyone to drive me. But Dr. Baiju’s office sent a cab to pick me up so I could make my appointment. I couldn’t believe it.

“Being my first time with a new doctor, I was nervous, but Dr. Baiju was so kind and gentle. He held my hand and said, We’re going to fix your legs. He told me I was going to get better, and I believed him.”

At All Costs

As the first step in Caroline’s treatment process, Dr. Baiju ordered diagnostic tests, which revealed Caroline was suffering from severe peripheral artery disease, or PAD. PAD is a common circulatory problem caused by a blockage or a narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the legs and feet. Treatment of PAD is one of Dr. Baiju’s special interests.

“The emphasis of my practice is to help the heart and save the legs,” Dr. Baiju asserts. “We do that for people who have diabetes or poor circulation and end up with ischemia [lack of blood supply], gangrene, ulcers or have black or purple toes and cold feet and legs and are facing a life-changing amputation. Caroline faced amputation of her right big toe due to the non-healing ulcer that persisted there.

“My focus is to avoid amputation at all costs. We do that through a highly specialized but minimally invasive procedure designed to open even the tiny blood vessels that supply the legs and feet. This improves the circulation and provides the legs and feet with better blood flow, which resolves the ischemia, promotes ulcer healing and saves the legs and feet from amputation.”

The procedure Dr. Baiju specializes in is called an atherectomy. It is a minimally invasive technique that shaves and removes the atherosclerotic plaque blocking the blood flow in the arteries, which are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

“We call atherectomy a percutaneous peripheral intervention, where you can either work your way down a large artery through small punctures in the artery of the groin or work your way up a smaller artery through a little pinhole in the foot,” Dr. Baiju explains.

“With Caroline, we went through the groin to scrape out the blockages and used a diamond-tipped burr that spins at about one-hundred-twenty thousand to one-hundred-sixty thousand revolutions per minute.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Caroline is thrilled with the results of her treatment.

“After that was completed, we performed an angioplasty where leading-edge, drug-coated balloons are used to keep the circulation flowing as long as possible. Stents were then placed in Caroline’s arteries to keep the angioplasty sites from collapsing.

“It was through this technique that the blockages in Caroline’s legs were removed in order to get oxygen-bearing blood flowing back to her feet to heal that ulcer.”

“Marvelous Experience”

The treatment Caroline received from Dr. Baiju at Heart and Vascular Care was successful in restoring the circulation in her legs and feet. She’s thrilled with the results.

“Before I underwent Dr. Baiju’s procedures, my legs and feet were numb so I couldn’t tell when I stubbed my toes or stepped on something sharp,” Caroline states. “But now, I can tell because the blood is circulating well in my legs all the way down into my toes.

“And the ulcer on my right big toe is healed and has been for more than two months. It’s great.”

Caroline is also pleased with the treatment itself as well as with Dr. Baiju and his staff at Heart and Vascular Care.

“Dr. Baiju performed the atherectomy procedures on my legs, and he did a tremendous job,” she raves. “There was no pain involved. And his nurse was right there afterward in case I had any questions. Mine was a marvelous experience.

“The staff at Heart and Vascular Care is wonderful. They took good care of me from the moment I walked in. They’re awesome, every one of them. Dr. Baiju is extremely knowledgeable. He really understands what he’s doing. He’s a remarkable physician.

“I’ve recommended Heart and Vascular Care to everybody. I took some of Dr. Baiju’s business cards and am giving them out to people in my apartment building. When I find something good, I have no trouble talking about it, and Dr. Baiju is excellent.”

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