When Life Brings You Challenges, Kick Back

Sandy Adams and her mother, Gwen Young, aren’t the type of people to let life’s challenges hold them back. Instead, they find a solution.

Vascular Surgery 1That solution came when the two Somerset residents went to vascular surgeon Krishna Mannava, M.D., for help with two very different health issues. They both say the Fairfield Medical Center physician went above and beyond to treat their conditions.

“Dr. Mannava is not like any other doctor I’ve met before,” said Sandy, 54, who helps run Young’s Dairy Farm in Perry County with Gwen. “I don’t think of him as a doctor. I think of him as a friend.”

Sandy was the first to meet Dr. Mannava, shortly after she went to the doctor for what she thought was a bad cold.

“The doctor was listening to my carotid artery and he said he heard some ‘slushiness’, ” she said. “He directed me to Dr. Mannava for testing.”

After evaluating Sandy, Dr. Mannava diagnosed her with Takayasu’s arteritis – a disease that narrows the arteries, reducing blood flow to parts of the body. The condition can cause a weak or no pulse in the arms, legs and organs.

“I could never have my blood pressure taken in my arms, it would always read really low,” Sandy said.

Sandy’s right carotid artery was 90-percent blocked and her left artery was already 100-percent blocked. To preserve circulation to her brain, Dr. Mannava performed a risky procedure to implant a stent to open the right carotid artery and restore blood flow.
“Takayasu’s arteritis is a rare condition causing inflammation of the larger arteries supplying the arms and brain,” Dr. Mannava said. “It usually affects women of Asian descent, making Sandy’s case even more rare. Fortunately, we were able to diagnose and treat her effectively with a great outcome.”

When Sandy talks about what could have happened if her condition had gone undiagnosed, she gets tears in her eyes.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here today,” she said. “I truly believe Dr. Mannava saved my life.”

Sandy’s faith and trust in Dr. Mannava is what eventually brought him into Gwen’s life. While Sandy was being treated, her 91-year-old mother, Gwen, was seeking medical attention at the FMC Wound Clinic for an ailment of her own: severe complications of peripheral arterial disease, or PAD.

PAD is caused by plaque build-up in the peripheral arteries, most commonly in the pelvis and legs. Over time, the plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, blocking blood flow.

“I had a vascular ulcer on my right leg that would not heal,” Gwen said. “It was very painful, and I was sick and tired of it because it was interfering with what I wanted to do.”

Sandy approached Dr. Mannava to see if he could help her mother with a vascular ulcer, which is a wound on the leg that won’t heal due to lack of blood flow. Gwen said Dr. Mannava made numerous efforts to save her leg from being amputated. Unfortunately, her disease was so far advanced that there were no good options to restore circulation. After much consideration, Gwen told Dr. Mannava she wanted to have her leg amputated.

“Although we try to save every limb we can, in certain cases, such as Gwen’s, the best option for healing and rehab is an amputation,” Dr. Mannava said. “Gwen had the courage and insight to make that choice and I agreed with her decision 100 percent.”

Gwen also developed severe PAD of her left leg that could not be treated with stents. Dr. Mannava was able to save that leg from amputation by performing a delicate bypass operation to her lower leg utilizing a cadaver vein.

Vascular Surgery 2Today, both Gwen and Sandy are back to enjoying the busy lifestyles they led before their health challenges. Recently, the two wrapped up an extensive, four-year project: an almanac for the Perry County Historical Society. In addition, Gwen, a Texas native, recently obtained her Ohio driver’s license.

Like Sandy, Gwen is grateful to Dr. Mannava for helping her get to a better, healthier place in her life.

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