Tag: Peripheral artery disease

Vascular Surgeons the real “vascular specialists”

If you only have a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail.

Some vascular “specialists” perform one or two kinds of vascular interventions, so their patients tend to get those treatments. Vascular Surgeons are trained in all treatment modalities and are able to perform every type of procedure skillfully: open, complicated surgery and minimally invasive, in-office endovascular procedures. Some patients need one, some need the other, while many need no surgery at all. Vascular Surgeons are “treatment agnostic,” that is, they do not prefer any treatment over another.

Some types of surgeons come into your life to perform a procedure, make sure you heal and then leave; that’s their role. A vascular surgeon may be someone who treats you on an ongoing basis for decades. A vascular surgeon very often has long-term relationships with patients because vascular disease can be a long-term condition.

At Western Vascular Institute, patients will get the best treatment for their particular needs in a caring and safe environment by a vascular surgeon with a full toolbox of treatment options!

Ankle Brachial Index

An ankle-brachial index is a simple and non-invasive test performed to diagnose peripheral vascular disease. The index compares the blood pressure of the legs and arms and creates a ratio that shows the availability of blood to flow freely from one extremity to the other. The ABI is calculated by dividing the systolic blood pressure at the ankle by the systolic blood pressure in the arm.

During this test, patients lie on their back and a technician places blood pressure cuffs on the ankles and arms. The machine then inflates the cuffs alternating to get the ratio. This test may include exercise by walking on a treadmill for several minutes in order to simulate when a patient would feel pain due to peripheral artery disease and then takes the reading afterward to understand the severity of the said disease.

Peripheral Artery Disease

 

Artery

  •  An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to other parts of the body.
  • Arteries are thicker than veins and have more robust, more elastic walls.
  • Arteries sometimes develop plaque within their walls in a process known as atherosclerosis.
  • These plaques can become fragile and rupture, leading to complications associated with diabetes, such as heart attacks and strokes.

Peripheral arteries

  • Peripheral arteries send oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body.
  • In PAD, plaque builds up in the artery walls.
  • Just like coronary artery disease, plaque narrows the arteries and leaves less room for blood to flow through. 
  • If your legs do not get enough oxygen and nutrients, they will feel sore or tired when you walk or climb stairs.
  • Having PAD raises your chances of a heart attack or stroke.
  • With PAD, not enough oxygen-rich blood and energy can pass through the arteries due to narrowing. 


The following symptoms may indicate the disease:

weakness in legs; numbness or cramping in legs with walking; legs may feel cold; color change, dark pink, purplish, dusky.

The symptoms may be present or absent but are due to a lack of blood flow to the muscle group, resulting in pain in the affected muscle groups. However, if the individual has diabetes or neuropathy, they may not feel the pain.

The presence of an extremity ulcer is one of the more obvious clinical signs of poor circulation. Other common symptoms: pain with walking a short distance; pain at rest when legs are elevated, but lessens when legs are dangled over the side of the bed or sofa.

Additional warning signs:

  • If you have poor circulation, it will typically begin in your legs first
  • Pain in the calf muscles when you walk (claudication) is the most common symptom
  • Poor wound healing or decline in the pulses in your feet
  • These symptoms may indicate severe blockages in the vascular system
     

Peripheral Vascular Disease

 

What is Claudication?

Claudication, also referred to as intermittent claudication, is pain caused by reduced blood flow to the lower extremities.  Claudication is a symptom of the disease called Peripheral artery or peripheral vascular disease (PAD or PVD) rather than a disease itself.

Claudication can cause:

  • Pain in calves, thighs, feet, or other parts of the lower extremities
  • Pain at rest, that gets worse with movement
  • Discolored skin
  • Weakness in leg
  • Aching or burning sensation in extremities

What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis – is a disease process that leads to the hardening or clogging of arteries. The build-up over time of substances such as fat, cholesterol, & calcium, collectively called plaque, narrows the artery and restricts the amount of blood able to pass through the arteries, and provides oxygen-rich blood to the body. This stenosis or narrowing of the artery can lead to serious problems such as stroke, amputation, heart attack, and death.

What is Limb Salvage?

Introduced by Western Vascular Institute over 20 years ago, limb salvage of the leg, foot, & ankle is a term used to describe the type of procedure that our wound & Vascular board-certified surgeons are able to provide to save a patients leg from amputation due to peripheral artery disease, diabetes & many other conditions.

In this procedure, our surgeons, because of their unparalleled training & skill level, are able to open arteries through endovascular catheters all the way down to the toes. This allows for blood flow to reach all the way to the tips of the toes, which helps patients improve their mobility & ability to heal wounds as well as saving or “salvaging” their limbs from amputation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness month

September is Peripheral vascular disease awareness month.  PVD or PAD / Peripheral Arterial Disease is a chronic disease where plaque gradually builds up in the arteries leading to limited blood flow or entirely block the flow of blood also called an occlusion.

This Plaque that builds up in your arteries and veins is a waxy fatty substance caused by high levels of cholesterol and worsened by smoking. The plaque builds up on the arterial or vessel wall as it passes through the vessels along with the blood and can lead to the hardening or atherosclerosis of the arteries and eventual occlusion. Peripheral arterial disease is a very common disease affecting 1 in 20 Americans over the age of 50.

 

 

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