Peripheral Vascular Disease

What are peripheral arteries?

Central arteries transport blood directly from the heart, while peripheral arteries carry blood everywhere else in the body (head, neck, arms, lower abdomen, legs, feet).

What is peripheral artery/vascular disease and what causes it?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) occur when peripheral blood vessels are blocked, hardened and narrowed, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Risk factors for developing vascular disease include:

  • Family history of atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Exposure to lead and cadmium
  • Kidney disease

What are the symptoms?

Signs that you may have peripheral vascular disease are leg pain that often occurs when exercising and ceases during rest; numbness, coldness, change of color or loss of hair in the legs or feet; muscle pain in the thighs or lower; paleness, blueness or weak or absent pulse in a limb; and an abnormal change in the way you walk.

How is PAD/PVD diagnosed?

Various instruments and tests can detect the presence of vascular disease. These include blood pressure cuffs, Doppler and intravascular (IVUS) ultrasound, angiogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), plethysmogram and venogram. How can PAD/PVD be treated?

Treatment options for PAD/PVD range from life changes and medications (sclerosing agents or blood thinners) to catheter-based treatments and traditional or endoscopic surgery. Surgery promotes clear blood flow by bypassing a vessel using a graft made of tissue from another undamaged vessel.

Amputations of the Foot, Leg, and Thigh

The loss of part of a limb is a difficult event for anyone. However, there are times either after an acute injury or following a complex chronic problem (ex. Diabetic foot infection) where an amputation is not only warranted, but offers the patient the best chance for a more functional, and often less painful extremity. Patients with a well-fitted prostheses may be able to function at high level often without a noticeable limp. However, mobility and function following successful surgery and rehabilitation is often limited by the patients pre-surgery level of function. Those that had limited function prior to surgery may also be limited post-surgery. Recovery from an amputation involves wound healing, rehabilitation, and emotional support.

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