Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy must choose between keeping her kidney or her leg





‘I have never been more scared’: Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy must choose between keeping her kidney or her leg as she battles a blood clot

  • Purdy, 39, had her legs amputated below the knee and both kidneys removed during a battle with sepsis and meningitis at 19
  • A year later, she received a kidney from her father, saving her from dialysis
  • Now, the medal-winning Paralympian and Dancing With The Stars performer faces losing either her entire leg or her kidney
  • The issue is that doctors need to use medical contrast dye to operate on the leg – and that dye affects transplanted or diseased kidneys 

Mia De Graaf Health Editor For Dailymail.com

Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy has to decide whether to save her leg or her kidney after developing a blood clot.

Purdy, 39, was 19 when she had both legs amputated below the knee, her spleen removed, both kidneys removed and one kidney transplanted – donated from her father – to save her life from meningitis and sepsis.

Thanks to prosthetics, Las Vegas-born Purdy was able to get back on the slopes and triumph on the global stage, winning a Paralympic bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018.

But now, her reliance on her prosthetics had led to a blood clot in one of her thighs, which may require removing the entire leg – a move that would take years to accustom to.

Doctors are trying to save the leg, but in doing so they are putting strain on the transplanted kidney, which she needs to prevent another transplant or a life on dialysis.

Purdy, 39, had her legs amputated below the knee and both kidneys removed during a battle with sepsis and meningitis at 19. Now she faces losing her entire leg or her kidney

Purdy, 39, had her legs amputated below the knee and both kidneys removed during a battle with sepsis and meningitis at 19. Now she faces losing her entire leg or her kidney

Purdy, 39, had her legs amputated below the knee and both kidneys removed during a battle with sepsis and meningitis at 19. Now she faces losing her entire leg or her kidney

Thanks to prosthetics, Las Vegas-born Purdy was able to get back on the slopes and triumph on the global stage, winning a Paralympic bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018

Thanks to prosthetics, Las Vegas-born Purdy was able to get back on the slopes and triumph on the global stage, winning a Paralympic bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018

Thanks to prosthetics, Las Vegas-born Purdy was able to get back on the slopes and triumph on the global stage, winning a Paralympic bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018

‘I have been hit down multiple times in my life but this time by far has been the hardest,’ Purdy wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

‘I went from snowboarding 6 hours a day, working out & traveling the world to what I thought was just a simple mechanical issue with my left leg. When I entered the hospital this weekend with my leg cramping we found out that it’s a much bigger problem [than] that.’

The Catch-22 situation boils down to contrast dye.     

The dye is key for doctors to use in MRI scans and surgery as they locate the clot to treat, monitor and remove it. 

But that dye can prove toxic to transplanted or diseased kidneys, raising the risk of two rare, serious disorders: CIN and NSF. 

CIN (contrast-induced nephropathy) only affect two percent of the population, but it can trigger a sharp decline in kidney function within as little as three days. In some cases, it can cause irreparable damage to the blood vessels and heart. 

NSF (nephrogenic systemic fibrosis) can be fatal. It triggers a burning reaction in the skin, joint stiffness, and muscle weakness. Worryingly, it can take up to three months to appear. 

Purdy rides during a training session on December 16, 2013 in Copper Mountain, Colorado

Purdy rides during a training session on December 16, 2013 in Copper Mountain, Colorado

Purdy rides during a training session on December 16, 2013 in Copper Mountain, Colorado

The Catch-22 situation boils down to contrast dye. The dye is key for doctors to use in MRI scans and surgery as they locate the clot to treat, monitor and remove it. But that dye can prove toxic to transplanted or diseased kidneys, raising the risk of two rare, serious disorders: CIN and NSF

The Catch-22 situation boils down to contrast dye. The dye is key for doctors to use in MRI scans and surgery as they locate the clot to treat, monitor and remove it. But that dye can prove toxic to transplanted or diseased kidneys, raising the risk of two rare, serious disorders: CIN and NSF

The Catch-22 situation boils down to contrast dye. The dye is key for doctors to use in MRI scans and surgery as they locate the clot to treat, monitor and remove it. But that dye can prove toxic to transplanted or diseased kidneys, raising the risk of two rare, serious disorders: CIN and NSF

Purdy said her doctors are operating on her leg in hopes to remove the clot without damaging the kidney, but it’s touch-and-go. 

‘They had to use contrast [dye] but promised me it was a small amount so fingers crossed that my kidney powered through like the powerhouse it is. My dad reassured me that before he gave it to me he put it through much worse,’ Purdy wrote. 

She added: ‘As you can imagine, all of this has once again shifted my perspective. 

‘Our bodies are so strong yet so delicate at the same time. Being an athlete and having prosthetic legs, I have conditioned myself to power through so much. 

‘That is what has led me to where I’m at in my life but that’s the paradox because it also led me here. 

‘Although I had zero symptoms until a few days before, I realize the pressure I’ve been putting on this leg for quite some time. Just a reminder to listen to those little whispers and put our health and self-care first! ‘



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