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Patient Story - Colbert Smith

Colbert SmithColbert Smith, right, of Stockbridge, Mich., with wife
Thelma Smith, is ready for walks after an
endovascular procedure at the University of
Michigan Cardiovascular Center.

Even after retiring from factory work, and spending years cooking in the kitchens of Ann Arbor’s beloved diners, Colbert Smith, 78, still wanted to be on his feet – this time for walks in the woods on a Rails to Trails path with his wife Thelma.

“But my legs would go numb. I could walk 75 to 100 yards and then I wouldn’t be able to get them to work,” says Smith, who lives in Stockbridge, Mich. Smith knew that diabetes was an issue for him, and the disease can affect circulation throughout the body, but a vascular specialist at the U-M Cardiovascular Center found that another problem was lurking.

Just like clogged arteries in the heart, a build-up of plague was affecting circulation in Smith’s legs. The restricted blood flow indicated peripheral arterial disease. First Smith had other surgeries to address a serious heel wound related to his diabetes.

When Smith was strong enough, vascular surgeon Jon Eliasion, M.D., performed an endovascular procedure using a stent to improve blood flow to Smith’s legs. The result has been better blood flow in his legs and a return to the woods

“There’s a trail next to an old railroad tracks were she likes to walk. I’m doing alI can to be able to take those walks with her,” Smith says.