Sheree Stanley is no stranger to health issues. The Huntsville, Texas resident has lived with high blood pressure for years and battled leg vein calcifications, a condition that causes “plaque” from calcium, fats and cholesterol to build up in the inner walls of the blood vessels in the legs. The result is artherosclerosis, or a hardening of the arteries and restricted blood flow.
For Sheree, having vein calcifications has meant undergoing stent surgery to remove the plaque deposits and restore healthy blood circulation to her legs. She first underwent the procedure years ago under the guidance of Charles West, M.D., who, at the time, was a practicing vascular surgeon in Houston.
In 2017, Sheree was again experiencing pain in her legs due to calcification. The pain became so bad that, at times, she would have to get up in the middle of the night and walk. The activity provided some relief until she started getting a burning sensation in her groin after rising.
With Dr. West no longer located in Houston, Sheree sought the medical advice of another surgeon, who ultimately recommended a second stent procedure. The surgery was unsuccessful and left Sheree looking for an alternative solution. She reached out to Dr. West, now at Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Surgical Associates of Fort Worth, Texas Health Physicians Group practice.
“I realized that Dr. West was miles away, but I valued his expertise,” Sheree recalls. “I made the decision to come to the Dallas-Fort Worth area with little delay because I trusted he would provide the proper treatment and care.”
Once in Fort Worth, the 60-year-old learned that she would require an aortobifemoral bypass to remove calcium deposits that had built up around her abdominal aorta, as opposed to her leg veins.
“All arteries in the body can develop calcification, the heart and peripheral blood vessels are not immune,” Dr. West explains. “Aortobifemoral bypass surgery is done to replace a blocked aorta, the blood vessel that carries the main blood supply and oxygen to the body, from the abdomen and groin into both legs. In Sheree’s case, her calcified abdominal aorta was the reason for the leg pain and burning sensation she was experiencing.”
During the six-hour minimally invasive surgery, Dr. West bypassed Sheree’s blocked aorta to redirect blood flow through a graft made of synthetic material. Sheree remained in the hospital for just four days following the surgery. With blood flow restored and her leg muscles no longer starved for oxygen, they were able to work without pain.
“Most patients who undergo aortobifemoral bypass report nearly instant relief and immediate improvement in quality of life,” Dr. West adds.
Sheree now makes the three-and-a-half-hour drive to Fort Worth once a year for an in-office vascular ultrasound. It’s a drive she is happy to make.
“Surgery was a life-changer for me,” she says. “I can do anything now―walk forever, sleep soundly. I have given up smoking, and I am so grateful for Dr. West. He is an exceptional doctor with a gift for diagnosis. I couldn’t ask for a better surgeon!”
Providers employed by Texas Health Physicians Group practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Resources hospitals.