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Texas Tech HSC unveils new Center of Excellence to protect life and limb

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 11:43 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Texas Tech Health Sciences Center unveiled a first today that goes far beyond the university.

To appreciate how big this is, you need to first understand how far science has come in the study of heart disease.

While the focus has long been on the heart and the study of Coronary Artery Disease, scientists are learning Peripheral Artery Disease, a build-up of plaque in the veins and arteries that go to the arms and legs, brings a tremendous risk of its own. It’s a condition that threatens more than 200 million people across the globe. But today, all eyes were on Texas Tech, where science and technology are coming together with a plan.

Dr. Steven Berk, Dean of the Texas Tech School of Medicine, says “We look forward to continued progress against this disease.” That’s how he opened a news conference today to celebrate the new Center of Excellence in the Treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease.

Dr Scott Shurmer, Chief of Cardiology, says this comes after new research points to just how sick these patients really are.

He adds, “For a long time, they were marginalized in medicine, not studied, not known. We focused on Coronary Artery Disease very appropriately, but it turns out those individuals with Peripheral Artery Disease die at an even faster rate.” Many of these patients develop painful ulcers on the leg which can lead to amputation. But this new center will provide screening, treatment and education with all the high tech tools needed to prevent complications like that.

Dr. Mac Ansari is the Cardiologist who will lead the new Center of Excellence along with a long list of professionals.

He says, “Thirty physicians from different specialties will come together and be part of this center which is going to be incredible, across 58 sub-specialties. So this is not going to be a Center for Excellence just for our community, but it’s going to be an example across the nation and that’s the wonderful part about this center.”

Dr. Ansari warns that early symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease can include difficulty or pain in walking, but also hair loss and skin changes. Sadly, he says people tend to ignore all that and the problems get worse.

His advice, don’t ignore leg pain. Talk to your doctor because if you catch it at an early stage, PAD is so much easier to treat....and it could save a limb.

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