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University Hospitals testing new procedure to save the limbs of diabetics

University Hospitals is the only location in Ohio participating in the clinical trial using the LimFlow device to try to save the limbs of diabetics.

CLEVELAND — There is hope for diabetics likely to lose a limb due to a wound that won't heal.

University Hospitals is testing a new procedure that re-routes blood flow into lower legs to help wounds heal.

Cynthia Elford became the first in Ohio to try the revolutionary procedure meant to save her right leg.

"I can't imagine not having both legs," she told us. "It's bad enough not having one."

Cynthia is a Type 1 diabetic and lost her left leg three years ago because blood flow couldn't get into her feet to heal a wound. She was scheduled to have the right leg amputated until Dr. Mehdi Shishehbor told her about an experimental procedure.

"These patients have no other options," Dr. Shishehbor told us. "They are scheduled to lose their leg, so this is a last resort option. So the fda understands, even if we are able to save five legs out of ten, that's five more than we would have."

Cynthia is part of a clinical trial testing the LimFlow device, a type of stent that turns a vein into an artery.

"We're diverting the blood flow from the artery, where the blockages are, into the veins where there are no blockages, and getting the blood down to the foot where the ulcer or gangrene is," Dr. Shishehbor explained.

After the 4 hour process, blood started flowing into Cynthia's foot and hopefully healing will begin.

"She now has blood flow to her foot and this will hopefully give us a chance to save her leg," says Dr. Shishehbor.

"I'm very grateful, I thank god for it every day," says Cynthia.

University Hospitals is the only location in Ohio participating in this clinical trial, and they're looking for more patients to get involved.

"This is perfect for those kinds of patients, because this gives us another chance to try and save their leg. Those are the patients we're looking for," Dr. Shishehbor adds.

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