Peripheral Arterial Disease
Heavy, numb legs that cramp when you walk or exercise could be a sign that you have peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a serious condition that raises your risk for heart attack, stroke, and limb amputation. The team at Douglas Vascular Center will diagnose and treat PAD with minimally invasive therapies in the comfort of their Douglas, Georgia, medical office. They offer unique protocols that protect your kidneys from contrast agents that are used to diagnose PAD. For safe, state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of PAD, contact the team by phone or use the online form.
Who is at risk for Peripheral Arterial Disease?
- Increasing age, especially after 50
- Family history of heart or artery disease
- High cholesterol levels
What Does the Research Say?
- Methods to open up arteries through minimally invasive endovascular techniques have improved outcomes for PAD
- Endovascular therapy reduces the risk of amputations related to non-healing wounds
- Pain with physical activity such as walking
- Relief of pain with rest
- Cramping of buttock, hip, thigh, or calf
- Leg hair loss
- Smooth shiny skin of legs and feet
- Sores or ulcers in the legs or feet that do not heal
- Cold or numb legs and/or feet
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of Peripheral artery disease (PAD) and are finding it difficult to perform your daily activities and maintain your way of life, contact your primary care physician immediately.
Minimally invasive procedure where a small tube (catheter) is inserted into the artery in the groin, ankle or wrist. Contrast dye is then injected into the catheter and special x-rays are obtained to see if a vessel is narrowed or blocked.
Angioplasty may be performed during angiography. If a blood vessel is found to be narrowed or blocked, a small balloon is advanced through the groin or foot to stretch and open up the narrowed blood vessel. This will increase the blood flow to the affected area.
Thrombolysis may be performed during angiography. If a blood clot is found to be the cause of the narrowed or blocked vessel, a clot-dissolving drug or a specialized tool may be infused to dissolve or retrieve the clot.
Atherectomy may be performed in conjunction with angiography. If a blood vessel is found to be narrowed or blocked due to extensive plaque build up, a specialized tool may be inserted to remove the calcifications or plaque to increase blood flow to the affected area.
A stent may be placed during angiography. If a blood vessel is found to be narrowed or blocked and will not stay open after balloon angioplasty and/or atherectomy, a metal tube may be inserted in the narrowed vessel to keep the vessel open.
Are you a candidate for Endovascular treatment?
You may be a candidate for endovascular therapy if:
- You have leg pain worsened with activity and relieved with rest
- You have a leg or foot wound which is not healing
Endovascular treatments are a safe treatment option and like other minimally invasive procedures have significant advantages over open surgery.
- Extensive long term research demonstrating effectiveness for PAD
- Same day procedure
- No general anesthesia required
- Short recovery time
- Reduce risk of limb loss
- Although complications of endovascular therapies are rare, any medical procedure carries some degree of risk. Despite the low risk factor, it is important to understand the potential complications associated with PAD treatment. These include:
- Leakage of blood at the puncture site
- Blood clot or calcification blocking a different part of the body
- Injury to blood vessels
- Limb loss – rare
Other Treatment Options
Many medications such as cholesterol lowering agents, aspirin, blood thinning agents, and/or clot prevention agents may be used to reduce the risk of minimally invasive therapies or surgery and prevent disease progression
Open surgical treatments as arterial bypass surgery is performed to create a path around the blocked artery using a blood vessel from another part of the body or a synthetic vessel. These procedures often require hospitalization and a long recovery time. Surgical treatments are often performed if minimally invasive therapy is not amenable or fails.