Calvin’s Story: Atherectomy Relieves PAD Leg Pain And Makes Walking a Joy

For Calvin Holley, walking more than half a block at a time without being in pain used to be out of the question.

Holley would go to work and do his job, but it didn’t require much walking, so he hadn’t noticed quite how bad the pain in his legs had become.

It wasn’t until he decided to go to New England on vacation with his son and his son’s family that he realized he had a serious problem. Their trip included walking the Freedom Trail in Boston.

“I had been noticing some discomfort prior to that if I did some serious walking,” Holley said. “I could only go about a half a block without getting some aches and cramps in my legs, but I really noticed it on my vacation trip.”

When Holley returned home to Tipp City, he made an appointment to visit his primary care physician, who referred him to see cardiologist Gary Fishbein, MD

Dr. Fishbein diagnosed Holley with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which means he had a buildup of plaque in the arteries that carried blood to his limbs. Dr. Fishbein found that two of the three main arteries in each of Holley’s legs were 100 percent blocked, and the third artery in each leg was 90 percent blocked.

Holly had an atherectomy, performed by Dr. Fishbein, on the artery in each leg that was 90 percent blocked. The procedure involved threading a thin tube (catheter) through each artery and shaving off the plaque buildup with a small cutting device.

Dr. Fishbein was able to reduce the blockages from 90 percent to about 20 percent, which was as much plaque as could safely be removed.

“Dr. Fishbein did a great job. He’s very personable and helped my lifestyle tremendously,” Holley said. “After I had the atherectomies done, he explained everything, and I was able to go back to work the next day.”

After the procedures, Dr. Fishbein recommended Holley try to exercise a little more than he had before. Holley took the advice to heart.

He has taken up speed walking, which he said consists of a very brisk walk at about 4 miles per hour. 

“I started in 2010, and I started kind of slowly and eased into it,” Holley said. “So far this year, I’ve logged just over 800 miles of speed walking, just doing it in the evenings and on weekends.” 

Holley’s walking partner Vigo – a miniature greyhound – prefers to go a little faster than he can walk but happily keeps up Holley’s pace.

Holley said he’s grateful to Dr. Fishbein for giving him the opportunity to enjoy his life and experience things he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do.

“I’ve felt wonderful,” he said. “I just couldn’t be happier with what Dr. Fishbein did for me. I even wrote him a letter to say, ‘You’ve given me my legs back, and I really appreciate it.’”

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