Foundation to raise $2M for vascular fellowships

Foundation to raise $2M for vascular fellowships

Vascular physician Dr. Jihad Mustapha, of Metro Health, performs an endovascular peripheral vascular procedure on a patient. Courtesy Metro Health

The Metro Health Hospital Foundation has announced plans to raise $2 million for a program that will help the hospital save more lives and limbs.

The money will be put toward funding two physician fellowships per year in perpetuity.

Dr. Jihad Mustapha, a Metro Health physician who specializes in cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology and vascular and interventional medicine, will train the fellowship recipients in endovascular peripheral vascular procedures. This means he will show them how to preserve limbs using his technique of opening arteries in the thigh and knee when they are narrowed by blockages caused by peripheral artery disease or critical limb ischemia.

Carmen Heaney, director of clinical research at Metro Health, said Mustapha created this technique 10 years ago and brought it to Metro Health in 2009.

“A lot of these techniques have always gone through the groin (the femoral artery), but Dr. Mustapha goes through the toe,” she said. “He has worked to develop an access and approach through the tibial arteries, working upward to open up the blockage, versus going through the groin and going down. But also, now they do dual access, entering from above and below to clear up particularly tough blockages.”

Heaney said the program will be very competitive, and Metro expects at least 50 requests per year from physicians all over the world who want to train with Mustapha.

She said the fellowship recipients will learn the procedures, but they also will participate in research for the Peripheral Registry of Endovascular Clinical Outcomes, also called the PRIME Registry. Mustapha created PRIME in 2013 to help track data on critical limb ischemia and advanced peripheral artery disease patients.

Jennifer Wilson, director of the Metro Health Hospital Foundation, said the foundation already has heard from several interested donors.

“If we can raise more than $2 million, we absolutely will,” she said. “We expect fundraising will take 12-18 months, tops.”

Wilson said the foundation has seen a lot of growth recently.

“The foundation (formerly) wasn’t tackling projects like this, and it’s just recently that it has really been more in the forefront of raising money for multimillion-dollar projects for the hospital.”

Besides its work for the hospital, the foundation recently gave a $10,000 grant to the City of Wyoming Fire Department to train its firefighters as emergency medical technicians.

“Now with that certification, they’re able to provide life-saving techniques to patients before they even get to the hospital,” Wilson said.

The foundation also is working to raise $250,000 for a vascular rehab pilot program that would help the recipients of Mustapha and others’ life-saving limb procedures.

“When you have open heart surgery, you have to go through rigorous cardiac rehab after the surgery. But there is nothing like that for these vascular procedures that Dr. Mustapha is providing. He wants to pilot a vascular rehab program for the peripheral artery procedures,” Wilson said.

“The more exercise and lifestyle intervention you can make, the more you can help prevent further disease,” said Arielle LaHaye, peripheral vascular coordinator at Metro Health.

LaHaye said once the pilot program is up and running, the foundation will seek federal reimbursement for it.

“The rehab program would need to present its outcomes to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services so that it will be eligible for reimbursement,” she said. “If (the hospital) can show enough positive results for the patients, they can take the data there to show them that it should be funded to help the patients have a better outcome.”

LaHaye and Wilson noted the rehab pilot program would launch in February at the earliest.

“The foundation is really excited to be able to fund projects like these for Metro Health,” Wilson said. “We’re very grateful to Dr. Mustapha for bringing these wonderful projects here to help save limbs and lives.”

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