Peripheral Vascular Disease

What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) or Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a medical condition caused by a blockage or narrowing of the body’s larger peripheral arteries and veins. Peripheral arteries and veins are those blood vessels which are not part of the heart. Lack of proper blood flow to the legs is common in this condition. Peripheral vascular procedures are performed most frequently in the legs, but can be in the arms, kidneys, pelvic area, and other areas not in the heart. Peripheral vascular procedures can be done in the veins or the arteries.

What are some symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Symptoms include tiredness or cramping in the leg muscles when walking or exercising which goes away with rest. This is called claudication. Other symptoms include: pain in the legs or feet that wakes you up at night, numbness or loss of sensation in the affected limb, sores that heal slowly or fail to heal at all, differences in color or temperature between limbs, decreased rate of hair and nail growth on the affected limb, and foot pain at rest. The blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels is often caused by a disease called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is when fatty deposits or plaques build up on the inner walls of the blood vessel leading to reduced blood flow or even complete blockage.

Interventional procedures for Peripheral Vascular Disease performed at MemorialCare Surgery Center:

Angioplasty:  a technique for enlarging an artery that is blocked or narrowed without surgery.

  • First a diagnostic angiogram is performed to locate the issue. A contrast dye is injected into your blood vessels to help visualize the areas where there may be blockages or narrowing. A physician may also perform a CT and Ultrasound to help diagnose the severity.
  • After the diagnosis, an angioplasty is performed through a thin tube called a catheter inserted with a needle into the affected artery. It has a tiny balloon attached to the end. The balloon is inflated, pushing aside the plaque and widening the artery so that it no longer restricts blood flow.
  • The balloon is then deflated and removed from the artery.