P4. Peripheral Artery Disease Treatments

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Treatments

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) – also known as peripheral vascular disease, atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries — is a disorder that occurs in the arteries of the circulatory system. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from the heart to all areas of the body. PAD occurs in the arteries that carry blood to the arms and legs.

 Medical Management

Medical management of PAD may include the following:

  • Lifestyle Changes including quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet and exercise.
  • Management other conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
  • Medications, to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
  • Antiplatelet medication, such as aspirin or clopidogrel (Plavix) may be prescribed.
  • Cilostazol (Pletal), medication to improve symptoms of intermittent claudication.
  • Good foot and skin care, to prevent infection and reduce the risk of complications. Aggressive wound care, such as negative pressure wound therapy, is necessary to treat wounds from poor circulation.
  • A supervised walking program to improve pain-free walking distance in patients with blocked arteries.

More advanced PAD can be treated with interventional procedures or surgery. Interventional Procedures

Interventional procedures include angioplasty (to widen or clear the blocked vessel), angioplasty with stent placement (to support the cleared vessel and keep it open), or atherectomy (to remove the blockage).

Surgical Procedures

Surgical procedures include:

  • Peripheral artery bypass surgery – reroutes blood flow around a blocked blood vessel by creating a new pathway for blood flow using a graft

Atherosclerosis endarterectomy – the open surgical removal of plaque from a blood vesselDoctors vary in quality due to differences in training and experience; hospitals differ in the number of services available. The more complex your medical problem, the greater these differences in quality become and the more they matter.

Clearly, the doctor and hospital that you choose for complex, specialized medical care will have a direct impact on how well you do. To help you make this choice, please review our Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute Outcomes.