October 25, 2004

Ed Federico
(215) 349-5659


Media Advisory/Calendar Event
“Legs for Life” Event Rescheduled for November 16th

WHAT: Get a “Leg Up” on Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
Free Screenings for PVD, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms & Carotid Disease

The Division of Interventional Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), in conjunction with the national Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR), is sponsoring “Legs for Life,” a public education and community wellness program to help identify people who may be at risk for PVD.

PVD is caused by blocked blood flow in the arteries of the legs and often causes pain or swelling, difficulty walking, numbness and skin discoloration. It affects 10 million Americans, typically over age 50. People suffering from diabetes, smokers, and those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels are at increased risk of PVD. Early detection is key. Jeffrey Solomon, MD, an interventional radiologist and director of HUP’s “Legs for Life” program, says, “PVD can severely limit the ability of people, especially the elderly, to go about their daily lives because of the pain it inflicts.” PVD is typically treated through lifestyle changes or medications in the earliest stages. In its most advanced stages, PVD can cause “a heart attack in the legs” – arteries become so clogged and narrow that blood rich with oxygen and nutrients is prevented from flowing to the limbs.

Many individuals at risk of PVD are also at risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and carotid disease, which can lead to stroke. AAA is caused by a weakened area in the main vessel that supplies blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Carotid disease is caused when atherosclerotic plaque builds up on the back wall of the common carotid artery. As the plaque builds, it encroaches on the opening of the internal carotid artery. This narrowed opening then presents a risk for stroke. Those at highest risk for developing any of these diseases are males over 50 who have ever smoked and/or who have a history of hardening of the arteries.

WHO: Penn interventional radiologists and other specialists will be available to explain PVD & AAA, in both English and Spanish. More than 200 people are expected to come in for a screening.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Appointments are necessary, please call: (215) 615-4135
For Spanish-language service, please call: (215) 615-4399

WHERE: Houston Hall, Bodek Lounge, on the University of Pennsylvania campus
On Spruce Street, between 34th and 36th Streets, directly across from the Gates Entrance of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

If a member of the media is planning on attending this event, please call Ed Federico to register.


PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

This release is available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/oct04/PVDscreenings.htm