Peripheral Artery Disease Nearly Sidelines Pro Boxing Official

As a professional boxing referee, Gerald Scott, 62, has travelled the globe officiating International Boxing Federation matches.

On average, the tireless Scott (nicknamed "Gentleman Gerald Scott" by his peers) referees a dozen or more professional fights a year.

A Golden Gloves boxer himself as a teen, Scott loves the energy and excitement in the ring. "I always have a smile on my face," he said. "When I get in the ring, I feel great."

A few years back, severe pain almost put the South Holland native down for the count.

"I first noticed pain in my left leg in 2006," he recalls. "I thought it was a cramp and tried to shake it off." When the discomfort became unbearable, the late surgeon Timothy Field, M.D., performed surgery to bypass the blocked artery at Ingalls in 2009.

The pain was caused by a condition called peripheral artery disease, or PAD, in which fatty deposits or plaque builds up in the artery walls and reduces blood flow.

"Dr. Field said, 'If you waited another six to eight months, we would have been talking amputation,'" Scott recalls. "The pain was killing me. I couldn't walk from my kitchen to my bedroom."

Shortly after his left leg healed, pain began in Scott's right leg. This time, instead of open surgery, he was referred to Thomas Aquisto, M.D., board certified interventional radiologist, who recommended a stent to re-open the blocked artery.

Using imaging for guidance, the interventional radiologist threaded a catheter to the blocked artery in the leg. Then, he inflated a balloon to open the blood vessel where it is narrowed or blocked.

"In some cases it is then held open with a stent, a tiny metal cylinder," Dr. Aquisto added. "This is a minimally invasive treatment that does not require surgery, just a nick in the skin the size of a pencil tip."

Instead of a weeklong hospital stay, Scott was discharged the very same day with the stent procedure.

"I'm blessed," he added. "I eat well; I get my rest, and I walk 1.5 miles a day. When I get in the ring, I feel great. I have no pain whatsoever now."

Peripheral artery disease symptoms include:

  • Cramping in your hip, thigh or calf muscles after activity, such as walking or climbing stairs
  • Leg numbness or weakness, or weak pulse in legs or feet
  • Coldness in one lower leg or foot
  • Sores on your toes, feet or legs that won't heal
  • A change in the color of your legs, or shiny skin
  • Hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs
  • Erectile dysfunction in men.

See your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, or call Ingalls Interventional Radiologists at 708.915.5600.

Success Stories
  • Title

    Inspirational stories of courage and hope

Progress Magazine