POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Playing golf one July afternoon, Christine Boehlert didn't think twice when she felt a mosquito bite her leg. Considering it nothing more than a minor annoyance, she continued her round and forgot about the incident altogether. However, two weeks after the bite, the Poughkeepsie resident's leg was sensitive to the touch and still hadn't healed properly.
Boehlert consulted her primary-care physician, tried various antibiotic ointments and took an oral antibiotic, but a few weeks had gone by, and her wound still wasn’t healing. Plus, she was experiencing increased pain in her leg, and her foot occasionally felt numb. A nurse at work suggested she consult the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), where she saw Associate Chief of Vascular Surgery Dr. Jayesh Modi. “He said that he suspected I had blocked arteries,” said Boehlert, “and after a few weeks of trying to get the infection to go away, he suggested I see his associate, Dr. Fulton.”
An ultrasound of her leg, ordered by Dr. Joseph Fulton, MidHudson Regional Hospital’s Chief of Vascular Surgery, revealed that Boehlert had a significant artery blockage on her right side and a smaller one on the left. A subsequent CT scan confirmed that she would indeed need surgery.
Boehlert was diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, or PAD, a subset of atherosclerosis. A type of vascular disease, it involves a buildup of plaque — composed of cholesterol, fat and other substances — in the arterial walls of lower extremities. “The plaque buildup inside the layers of the artery causes a decrease in the luminal size, or the inner opening, causing a blockage and decreased blood flow,” said Fulton.
To hear more of Boehlert's story and see how she was given a new lease on life, click here to read more via Advancing Care in the Hudson Valley.