A woman can walk again after appealing for help on social media.
Teresa Catto suffered crippling leg pain after being diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a circulatory problem where blood supply to the legs is slowly cut off as the arteries constrict.
She had two surgical procedures which failed to unblock the diseased arteries. A third operation was ruled out as surgeons feared she might lose a leg and need to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
In desperation, daughter Tracey Tyler went on social media and found a Facebook group of patients living with the same condition called “The Way To My Heart”.
Tracey said: “Mum could hardly walk and being told she would just have to live with the pain was very tough.
“The group has hundreds of members so I asked if they know someone who could offer a second opinion. It was wonderful to reach out to an online community and that’s how we found Lorenzo Patrone.
Dr Patrone is an Interventional Radiology Consultant who performs advanced mini-invasive vascular operations at Northwick Park Hospital near Harrow. He specializes in reopening arteries in the legs that become constricted through age and disease.
The procedure starts by guiding a wire down the blocked artery via a small puncture in the groin. These deliver small balloons or stents which reopen the artery allowing a normal flow of blood to return to the limb.
Lorenzo said: “PAD affects thousands of people in the UK and many of these suffer from its most aggressive form which can lead to amputation.
“In recent years, new materials and techniques allow us to treat patients very effectively in mini-invasive way and we run workshops for vascular specialists from around the UK and Europe
“The Way To My Heart Facebook group is a great tool for patients who can meet people living with the same condition and ultimately be referred to the most experienced centres for treatment.”
Teresa said: “I can’t thank Lorenzo enough. I was praying he could help me and when he said he could I was so relieved. The operation took two hours and I was allowed home later the same day. I knew it had worked as soon as I stood up. It has given me my life back after four long painful years.
“My message is not to be afraid to ask for a second medical opinion. You get people with different levels of skills in any job so don’t take no for an answer.
So, what is Teresa looking forward to know she has regained use of her left leg?
“Ballroom dancing. I haven’t been able to go for years.”