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Doctor saves limbs

Innovative treatments keep blood flowing
through woman's legs
Lori Ginsbach, a Jamestown resident, calls Sanford Health cardiovascular surgeon Timothy Pansegrau, MD her “God-gifted hero. ”Without his expertise, Ginsbach says her leg would have been amputated. She understands and fears the limitations of being without a limb; her father had both legs amputated due to complications from diabetes.

“Dr. Pansegrau is very dedicated, well-educated and well-trained,” said Ginsbach, who also has diabetes. “But even beyond that, I really think he has a special gift. I have all the faith in the world in him.”

Dr. Pansegrau has successfully performed femoropopliteal (fem-pop) bypass surgery with four revisions due to progression of Ginsbach’s peripheral arterial disease. This surgery is used to bypass diseased blood vessels above or below the knee. The surgeon redirects the blood through a transplanted healthy blood vessel or through a man-made graft material.

Ginsbach’s diabetes puts her at higher risk for PAD, a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. PAD prevents the needed amount of blood from flowing through limbs, most notably the legs, which can cause leg pain while walking.

“With her longstanding diabetes, these arteries are very diseased,” Dr. Pansegrau said. “It takes a combination of vascular technologies to maintain the grafts.

Ginsbach has had seven arterial vascular surgeries in both legs, and she’s grateful for the fem-pop technology that
Dr. Pansegrau has used for the last four procedures.

  Lori Ginsbach suffered from PAD
Lori Ginsbach, who suffers from peridpheral arterial disease, a disease that can have serious consequences including amputation, credits her ability to walk on her own two feet to Timothy Pansegrau, MD, Sanford Health cardiovascular surgeon.

“My last time I needed surgery, the ambulance took me to Jamestown Hospital, and they sent me to Bismarck immediately,” Ginsbach said. “When I stood up, pain just shot through me, and I caved to the floor. I couldn’t walk or stand at all on my leg. I had two blood clots on my knee and in my groin. Dr. Pansegrau spent over four hours in surgery with me. He saved my leg again.”

Dr. Timothy Pansegrau
Timothy Pansegrau, MD

Dr. Tonia Hoggarth
Hoggarth, MD

Family medicine

Losing weight has also improved her mobility and circulation. Ginsbach said she was among about 25 percent of people with diabetes who gain weight as a side effect of the insulin prescribed for diabetes. She met her insurance company’s criteria for weight-loss surgery, and in November 2008, had lap-band surgery at Sanford Health. Ginsbach has lost the 60 pounds she gained and feels much better.

Following the weight loss, Ginsbach’s medications decreased from 11 a day to two, plus three over-the-counter supplements. She walks about a mile a day and works out at a local fitness center. She no longer needs adjustable shoes to accommodate the chronic swelling she experienced in her legs and feet. To minimize the possibility of future blockages, she sees Dr. Pansegrau regularly and has been placed on a blood-thinning medication. She praised Dr. Pansegrau and his staff for their attention to detail and compassionate care.

“It doesn’t matter how busy they are, they make time to listen to you and give you the time you need,” she said. “He’s even made time to see me when I didn’t have an appointment just so I wouldn’t have to drive in from Jamestown another day.”

Tonia Hoggarth, MD, a family medicine physician at Sanford Health, referred Ginsbach to Sanford Health’s cardiovascular program in Bismarck. A North Dakota native, Ginsbach worked as a teacher and administrator out of state for 19 years. In 1997, she moved to Jamestown.

Ginsbach, 69, hasn’t retired despite her medical problems. She works at the North Dakota State Hospital and says she can’t imagine not working.

“My blood seems to be flowing well now, and I am able to work with no problems,” she said. “But even if I have this problem again and even if I should lose my leg eventually, I know Dr. Pansegrau will have done everything he possibly could to save it. He doesn’t give up easily, and I’m glad for that.”

Click here for more information about PAD and Sanford Health's cardiovascular surgery team or call (701) 323-5276.

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