Jihad A. Mustapha

M.D., FACC, FSCAI

Dr. Jihad Mustapha has held many academic and professional titles throughout his career, but the one he’s most proud of is the simplest: “The Leg Saver.”

A board-certified interventional cardiologist, Dr. Jihad Mustapha developed the notion early in his practice that a device to unblock arteries leading to the heart might be used to perform the same thing for legs. Dr. Jihad Mustapha performed his first peripheral vascular limb-salvage treatment more than a dozen years ago, preventing the amputation of the leg of a 52-year-old woman suffering from severe peripheral artery disease, or PAD.

Today, Dr. Jihad Mustapha is recognized throughout the world as a pioneer for his groundbreaking work in critical limb ischemia, or CLI, which is marked by the severe obstruction of arteries drastically reducing blood flow to the extremities. Left untreated, CLI can result in amputations. He has authored numerous papers and teaches and speaks internationally on the topic.

Dr. Jihad Mustapha’s story is even more incredible considering that at just 15, he fled his war-torn homeland of Lebanon, landing alongside not a single friend or family member at JFK airport, with $80 to his name and little more than a single change of clothes.

By the next day – despite knowing no English – he was hawking umbrellas and flowers on the streets of New York. He enrolled in night school to learn the language, lived with a sister to save money, and eventually moved to Michigan, where he worked at a restaurant cleaning toilets and bussing tables.

In time, Dr. Jihad Mustapha enrolled in college to become a physicist, but to honor the memory of a brother who died before realizing his own dream of becoming a doctor, switched gears and entered the pre-med program at Wayne State University. He later earned his medical degree from St. George University School of Medicine in Grenada.

“If anything,” he says, “I do know a bit about loss and deficits, and I hope that has helped me to develop empathy for the many patients we have the privilege of treating.

“In virtually every instance, we are trying to create hope for people who have been given devastating news. That is what brings me to work every day. That is what motivates me as a doctor, but perhaps more importantly, as a human being.

“When you save someone’s leg, you’re often saving their life.”

Known in some circles as “The Leg Saver,” Dr. Jihad Mustapha performs artery and vein catheterizations that open up blocked vessels to improve circulation and reduce the need for amputations.

He is proud to have co-founded the first Advanced Cardiac and Vascular Amputation Prevention Center. With nephew Fadi Saab, M.D., Dr. Jihad Mustapha hopes it will serve as a national model for amputation prevention – one of many to eventually take root throughout the United States.

Dr. Jihad Mustapha is a board-certified interventional cardiologist specializing in endovascular revascularization of PAD, specifically CLI. He serves as Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and is a Founder and Director of the AMPutation Prevention Symposium, and a Founding Board Member of the CLI Global Society.

Dr. Jihad Mustapha and his wife, Laurie, have three children.