By Douglas Johnson, MHA, FACHE, Vascular Specialists Administrator
In 1974, Dr. Lewis Hatten moved to Hattiesburg to bring a new focus on the emerging field of vascular surgery. In 2004, Dr. Hatten joined Hattiesburg Clinic with the objective of establishing a vascular surgery department. The Vascular Specialists group has grown and is now comprised of Lewis E. Hatten, MD, FACS, RPVI; Humayun Bakhtawar, MD, RPVI; Edgar Guzman, MD, FACS, RPVI; J. Keith Thompson, DO, FACOS, RVT; and Samantha L. Jones, PA-C.
The History of Vascular Surgery
In 1946, the Society for Vascular Surgery was established, as surgeons recognized the need for further specialized training to address vascular issues with patients. The field of vascular surgery is an evolving hybrid medicine and complex surgical specialty addressing issues that impact circulation, or how blood flows throughout the body. Besides the performance of a pumping heart, there are other issues that can affect the circulatory system.
The specialty of vascular surgery has two main objectives: to stop bleeding and to restore circulation. First, bleeding may be associated with injuries due to trauma to a blood vessel or from a naturally occurring breakdown in the strength of a vessel wall, causing a dangerous bulging condition known as an “aneurysm.” An aneurysm can lead to actual ruptures of the vessel wall, and thus requires an intervention to repair it. Once the repair has been made, the vascular surgeon can begin restoring circulation. This enables the preservation of the limb or organ that is suffering from depleted blood supply.
Vascular Specialists in Hattiesburg
The physicians at Hattiesburg Clinic Vascular Specialists treat patients with conditions affecting the arteries, veins, and lymphatic system (a major part of the immune system). They offer comprehensive medical, endovascular, and surgical care for all circulatory issues outside of the heart and the intracranial vessels. This primarily involves circulation from the heart to the rest of the body. They focus on circulatory issues to relieve pain, preserve limbs, and effectively care for wounds. All of the vascular specialists at Hattiesburg Clinic — Drs. Bakhtawar, Guzman, Hatten, and Thompson — are fellowship-trained to provide care for patients’ vascular issues.
Hattiesburg Clinic Vascular Specialists offers an array of preventative services, including medical management, surveillance programs and diagnostic vascular ultrasound, and imaging in their vascular lab. From a curative or therapeutic approach, the group offers diagnostic arteriography, endovascular angioplasties, atherectomies and stent placement, surgical bypass procedures, and hybrid vascular reconstruction.
The Endovascular Center
In 2016, Vascular Specialists opened the area’s first physician-led outpatient angiography suite. The Endovascular Center is an office-based facility next to the physicians’ primary clinic at Hattiesburg Clinic’s main campus. The center, which offers patients a more private and convenient setting for minimally invasive procedures, provides catheter-based services. The facility includes four preoperative and recovery bays, a procedure room with the latest in catheter-based diagnostic and treatment procedures, and a specialized staff with years of clinical experience.
Diseases Treated by Vascular Specialists
Diseases in which the physicians specialize include peripheral arterial and venous diseases, aortic aneurysm, carotid stenosis, venous reflux disease, and visceral artery and renal artery stenoses. Each has its own unique issues.
Peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs. Plaque contains cholesterol, fat, fibrous tissue, calcium, and other substances in the blood, which can harden and narrow the arteries over time. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the head, organs, and limbs. If left untreated, it can lead to loss of limbs and potentially death.
Managing P.A.D. requires a comprehensive approach to the patient with emphasis on cardiovascular risk factor modification, along with therapies directed at the treatment of limb symptoms. Because P.A.D. is so prevalent, Vascular Specialists established Limb Preservation, a center that seeks to reduce the effects of peripheral arterial disease. In conjunction with Forrest General Hospital, community education initiatives such as Dare to C.A.R.E. presentations, lectures, and screenings on the challenges of vascular disease are provided quarterly.
Carotid artery disease (C.A.D.), also called carotid stenosis, is when the carotid arteries — the two large blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain — become narrow as a result of plaque buildup. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the United States and more than half of all strokes in the U.S. are caused by C.A.D.
Venous disease occurs when the internal walls of veins in the leg deteriorate and the small valves that prevent backflow become defective. This results in the blood flowing in reverse towards the foot, known as reflux. As a consequence, deep veins must carry more blood toward the heart, and the veins must expand. At this point, blood is no longer pumped effectively through the lower leg.
Venous diseases vary in severity and symptoms depending on the condition. Risk factors are categorized by two major conditions — chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and varicose veins. CVI occurs when vein walls are weakened and valves are damaged. CVI may result in swelling, changes in the skin or ulcerations. Individuals who are at higher risk for CVI include females, older individuals, and those who are obese.
Another venous disease, or disorder, is varicose veins, a condition in which superficial veins become knotted and swollen. Individuals who are at higher risk of varicose veins also include women and older individuals. The disease can be impacted by family history and pregnancy.
An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal enlargement or bulging of the aorta, which is the main artery of the body that supplies oxygenated blood to the circulatory system. The aorta passes over the heart from the left ventricle and runs down in front of the backbone. An aneurysm occurs when a portion of the vessel becomes weakened and expands.
The pressure of the blood flow through the vessel creates a bulge in the weak area, beginning small and growing as the pressure continues. Aneurysms pose a risk of rupturing, which can cause internal bleeding and ultimately death. Because aneurysms can develop and grow before causing any symptoms, screening is recommended for people between age 65 and 75 who have a family history of aneurysms or for those who have smoked.
How to See a Vascular Specialist
Hattiesburg Clinic Vascular Specialists recognizes that people suffering from the pain and debilitation that often accompanies poor circulation are not always able to tolerate trips far from home. To better accommodate these individuals, Hattiesburg Clinic Vascular Specialists holds outreach clinics in various areas. In addition to their main location at 415 S. 28th Ave., in Hattiesburg, the physicians travel to Wiggins, Picayune, Laurel, Columbia, and Collins. To contact Vascular Specialists regarding any of its locations, please call 601-579-5010.
Hattiesburg Clinic Vascular Specialists is a group of physicians in the Pine Belt who are fellowship-trained solely in vascular diseases. Reaching out to serve patients in six locations, Vascular Specialists can be reached at 601-579-5010. Learn more at www.hattiesburgclinic.com/vascular-surgery.
The information provided in this article should be used as a guide, not medical advice. Please contact your medical provider regarding concerns or questions about your health.
Back to Top