The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 2, 2003

UI Health Specialists To Provide Complementary Vascular Screenings

University of Iowa Health Care specialists will conduct a free screening in September for people at risk for peripheral vascular disease (PVD), a progressive and debilitating disease affecting 8 million Americans.

Other tests, including cholesterol checks and ultrasound examinations that can detect life-threatening aneurysms in the abdomen, will also be provided free of charge. The screenings will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at UI Hospitals and Clinics, located at 200 Hawkins Drive in Iowa City.

PVD is caused by decreased blood flow in the arteries of the legs and often leads to pain, difficulty walking, infections or sores on the feet that are slow to heal, coldness, tingling or numbness in the feet or legs, hair loss and skin discoloration.

UI Hospitals and Clinics is taking part in "Legs for Life: National Screening Week for PVD Leg Pain," the week of Sept. 21-27. The event is being coordinated by Jafar Golzarian, M.D., an interventional radiologist in the UI Department of Radiology. Faculty and staff are volunteering their time to make the screenings possible.

"Early detection and treatment of vascular disease is important and can be key to interventional treatment of blockages," Golzarian said. "The sooner PVD is detected, the better the chance of managing the disease. We feel this screening is a valuable public health service."

It is necessary to make an appointment for the screening. Call UI Health Access at 800-777-8442 or 319-384-8442. Screening participants will be provided with convenient parking at no cost. Valet services will also be available free of charge. Screening appointments are limited.

To reach the screening site, participants can turn east off Hawkins Drive (at the traffic light on the south end of Kinnick Stadium) and park at the south entrance of the John Pappajohn Pavilion. The screenings will take place in the Orthapaedics Clinic on the Lower Level of the Pomerantz Family Pavilion.

Golzarian added, "It is crucial to understand that PVD is strongly associated with a high risk for a heart attack or stroke. PVD should be regarded as an early warning sign of the possible presence of potentially serious disorders."

In addition to being at risk for heart attacks and strokes, people with PVD also face an increased risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, the 17th leading cause of death overall in the United States. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakening or ballooning of the aorta, the main vessel that transports oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Over a period of time, the walls of the aorta in the area of the aneurysm become increasingly weaker and, if it grows large enough, the aneurysm may burst.

People with appointments to be screened will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and information form, to help determine their risks for PVD and abdominal aortic aneurysm. A brief screening examination will be done to obtain blood pressure readings in the person's arm, ankle and abdomen to further assess their potential for disease. People with a moderate or high risk for PVD or abdominal aortic aneurysm should see their personal physician for additional evaluation.

PVD is most common among men and women over age 50, people diagnosed with diabetes, smokers, and people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

"PVD starts so quietly that many people don't realize they have a problem," Golzarian said. "Many think they are simply feeling the natural effects of aging. Vascular symptoms are often confused with arthritis or sciatic nerve pain."

In previous UI Hospitals and Clinics screenings, nearly one out of four patients was found to be at moderate or high risk for PVD and referred to their primary care physicians for further evaluation. For more information about "Legs for Life," visit the program site online at www.legsforlife.org.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu