Woman running on a path.

As a customer service/underwriter for an insurance company, Debra Moffett often asks, “How can I help you?”

But in February 2022, when she woke up with a swollen left leg and was unable to walk, she was the one asking, “who can help me?” 

After finding no relief with Ibuprofen, Debra went to an urgent care center where they suspected she had a blood clot.

When an ultrasound revealed something more suspicious, Debra was transferred by ambulance to University of Maryland Laurel Medical Center, where she was immediately given blood thinners. The emergency room team was quickly in touch with vascular surgeon, Dr. Charles Fox, who was more than willing to help her get better.

“I was in extreme pain at this point. My leg was so swollen. I was told I needed surgery, which happened quickly at University of Maryland Capital Region Health in Largo,” says Debra.

Debra had a condition known as May-Thurner Syndrome, an acute condition that impacts blood flow to the left leg and generally impacts women more often than men. 

As Dr. Fox explains, “the vein in the leg is obstructed by the artery that sits on top of it. A clot forms in the vein, which leads to disabling leg swelling.”

In the past, medication was the only treatment option. It took months, and it wasn’t always successful in restoring the leg to its normal size.

 The vascular team at University of Maryland Capital Region Health offers the latest treatment options.

“We have novel devices that we can use to remove the clot. We basically capture the clot with a wire basket, and then the leg’s blood flow is returned almost immediately,” says Dr. Fox.

According to Debra, “It was a three-hour operation where Dr. Fox went behind the knee and also placed three stents to keep the veins open.”

The surgery was a success, and almost the next morning, Debra’s leg was back to its normal size. She has not experienced pain in her leg since the operation.

Debra now wears a compression sock on the affected leg and is grateful to get back to her hobbies, which include reading true-crime novels, needlepoint, and spending time with her loved ones. 

The best outcomes are associated with early diagnosis, and Dr. Fox recommends that anyone who is experiencing leg swelling seek the advice of a doctor. 

Call 240-677-0247 to schedule an appointment. 

An award from the International Accreditation Commission given to University of Maryland Capital Region's Health, accrediting the hospital's vascular testing.