Dr. Scott Beach
On this week’s show I sat down with interventional cardiologist, Dr. Scott Beach, of Heart & Vascular Care, with offices in Johns Creek, Cumming, and Canton, GA. I’ve known Dr. Beach for several years through the practice I was working for (Hyperbaric Physicians of Georgia). Our physicians have worked with him on numerous patients’ cases, both sending him folks who needed to have their blood flow to their lower extremities evaluated, as well as providing specialized wound care for patients he and his colleagues occasionally see in their practice.
Dr. Beach share how he enjoys the fact that his relationship with his patients and their loved ones tends to extend over years rather than being short and limited to a procedure or two. We talked about vascular disease and some things both patients and doctors need to think about to get problems identified and treated early.
Scott explained how often, symptoms of developing vascular disease are mild and gradually reduce the patient’s tolerance to activity. In many instances, the patient and their family merely chalk the changes up to “getting older”. That’s dangerous, because it means the blockage of blood flow that’s causing the symptoms continues to grow until a major event occurs such as a heart attack, stroke, or possibly a limb amputation.
We discussed the fact that there are simple, non-invasive studies that can reveal early vascular disease when it’s easier and more-likely-successful to treat with more options to choose from. Additionally, we talked about the fact that having pulses that can be felt on a patient’s foot is NOT an accurate means of determining whether a patient has vascular disease that needs attention in many patients.
Additionally, when patients have a wound on their foot or leg that is healing slowly or not at all, it is very important to know whether blockage of blood flow is contributing to the inability to heal. Too often, these patients go for amputation that could have been readily prevented with one of those non-invasive or minimally-invasive studies he described. For patients with a wound that’s not healing, it is important for them to have a multiple-specialty team of doctors who help with different facets of the non-healing wound. Scott and his colleagues certainly subscribe to this approach and get their patients with limb threatening wounds access to all available experts who can help save their foot/leg.
The value in this multi-specialty approach cannot be overstated when you consider that in diabetics (one of the largest groups who experience vascular disease), the 5 year mortality rate for patients undergoing a below-the-knee amputation is just under 50%. Most patients and many doctors are not fully aware of this risk.
Dr. Scott Beach, MD, Heart & Vascular Care