Expert care for a painful condition of the arms and legs
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
One in 20 Americans older than 50 has peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that causes reduced blood flow to your limbs, particularly the legs. The experts in our Vascular and Endovascular Program are recognized leaders in the treatment of the condition, also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). They will work with you to develop an individualized plan to manage and treat the condition so you can return to your daily activities.
The most common form of PAD is atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries become narrow because of a buildup of plaque. PAD is a sign that you may have more widespread accumulation of plaque in your body, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Critical limb ischemia is a serious form of peripheral artery disease in which the pain remains even while resting. It also can result in sores and wounds that won’t heal due to the poor circulation in your limbs. Left untreated, critical limb ischemia can even lead to amputation.
What are the symptoms of peripheral artery disease?
Many people with PAD do not have any symptoms. The most common symptom is pain or cramping while walking, a condition known as claudication. Pain is not a normal part of aging. If you experience recurring leg pain, see your doctor.
Other peripheral artery disease symptoms may include:
- Coldness in one leg or arm
- Discoloration of the limb
- Numbness or weakness
- Sores that won’t heal
- Slower growth of fingernails or toenails
What are the risk factors for peripheral artery disease?
We don’t always know why plaque builds up in the limbs, but you may be at increased risk for PAD if you:
Diagnosing peripheral artery disease is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.
An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.
Arterial duplex ultrasound uses Doppler and traditional ultrasound to assess blood flow in the arteries of your arms and legs.
Pulse volume recording tests are used to evaluate blood flow through the arteries in your arms or legs.
Your doctor will work with you to manage symptoms and stop the progression of the disease. This may include lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and exercising, taking medication or getting more advanced procedures such as angioplasty or surgery.
Peripheral artery disease treatments may include lifestyle changes, medication, and minimally invasive and surgical procedures to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Atherectomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove plaque from blocked arteries.
Limb salvage is a form of treatment our vascular surgeons use as an alternative to amputation for patients with severe peripheral artery disease, or PAD.