Nanticoke Health Services’ cardiology team is performing limb saving interventional procedures for patients with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) through its S.A.V.E. (Stopping Amputation of Vital Extremities) program.
February 28, 2014

Dr. Ivan Pena, Interventional Cardiologist at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, has begun some very important work in Sussex County.  Dr. Pena along with Nanticoke Cardiology and Nanticoke Health Services has established the S.A.V.E. program, “Stopping Amputations of Vital Extremities.”

Most people understand a blocked artery in your heart is critical and needs immediate attention to save heart muscle.  Likewise a blocked artery in your leg can also be critical.  A blockage in your leg is referred to as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).  Millions of people across the country are diagnosed with PAD each year.

PAD can lead to critical limb ischemia (CLI), a condition which requires treatment within 24-48 hours to prevent tissue loss.  Irreversible tissue loss can lead to serious infections and amputations.  The psychosocial effects of amputation can be devastating to patients and their families.  People who lose mobility may become disabled, having to rely on family to care for them physically and financially.  Also, as people lose their independence, they often become depressed.  64% of patient with amputations reach mortality or die within 5 years. This is 5 times higher than the rate for breast, colon, or prostate cancer.

Much like heart disease, people at risk for PAD are those with diabetes, a family history, high cholesterol, hypertension, smokers, and those over 50 years of age.  Patients with two of these risk factors accompanied by pain or cramping in the legs when walking should be screened for PAD.  Early detection is the key to preventing amputations.

Patients can have PAD without any visible signs and often do not recognize a problem until it is severe or CLI occurs.  Signs CLI include a limb that is cold, painful, has an open wound or ulcer, new onset of weakness or paralysis, or numbness.  Nationwide 71 % of people having a lower extremity amputation do not have a single diagnostic test to evaluate the extremity prior to the amputation.

Nanticoke recognizes our community’s need for increased awareness of PAD and, with Dr. Pena leading the way, has developed the S.A.V.E. program.  This program is designed to raise community awareness and help prevent amputations through increased screenings and evaluations combined with a rapid response to emergency situations. The S.A.V.E. program uses a multidisciplinary approach to address PAD and CLI incorporating the latest endovascular techniques combined with wound care, podiatry, endocrinology, and nutritional support to provide the best possible outcomes.

If you or someone you know have symptoms of PAD it is important for to be screened and evaluated.  Talk with your doctor right away.  For more information about the S.A.V.E program call 302-628-6222 or go to

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital has been named one of the Best 100 Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker’s Hospital Review for three years in a row. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital holds a Level III trauma status and includes an expanding interventional cardiology program. Nanticoke is nationally certified by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center and is a Gold Plus Award performer according to the American Heart/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®. Nanticoke’s medical staff includes over 120 active and community affiliate staff physicians practicing in 40 different specialties. For more information, please visit