ARA offers minimally-invasive, highly successful treatment for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) that will bring relief from swollen legs, distended veins and circulation-related ulcers.
What is peripheral arterial disease?
Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is a condition in which the arteries are not delivering enough blood to the legs because of plaque collection or other blockage. This means that the tissues of the legs are not getting enough oxygen. The earliest symptom is leg pain or cramping while walking that improves when resting. As symptoms progress, you may have more pain which can become severe. A person with a very advanced case of PAD may also have wounds that develop from a minor injury that won’t heal or such severe disease that amputation has to be considered.
Most people are aware that arteries can develop plaque and blockages that affect your heart and put you at risk of a heart attack. The arteries in your legs can suffer from the same disease. The same risk factors for coronary artery disease that affect your heart, namely smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and lack of exercise can also lead to blockages to the arteries in your legs.
Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who deliver minimally invasive treatments with less risk, less pain, and less recovery time than traditional surgery to treat peripheral arterial disease. Your condition will most likely be evaluated before the procedure using CT, ultrasound or MRI.
Angioplasty uses inflatable devices called balloons to open up narrowed arteries. Various types of balloons are used in different situations, including balloons that stretch arteries open, metal-edged balloons that cut and break up calcium deposits, and drug-coated balloons that can prevent scarring and future narrowing of the artery.
Stenting uses small metal tubes to hold open narrowed arteries that are closing. Various types of stents are used, including two main categories: bare metal and drug-eluting.
• Bare metal stents: These are made of simple metal mesh, which allows the body to coat the stent with cells that prevent new blood clots from forming; however, this approach increases the chance that the artery may become narrowed by scar tissue.
• Drug-eluting stents: These are more modern and slowly administer medication to the blood vessel wall to prevent scar formation; but the medication also stops the body from coating the stent with protective cells that prevent new blood clots from forming.
Patients who receive stents also need to be on clot-preventing medications related to aspirin called “anti-platelets” that reduce the chance of clots forming inside the stent.
An atherectomy uses a tiny catheter inserted into a blood vessel to navigate to and remove hard arterial plaque. The catheter features a metal tip that shaves away arterial material and opens the vessel, allowing blood to flow. An atherectomy is especially useful in cases where blockages occur around branches or in areas not easily fit with stents.
Thrombolysis delivers medication slowly, over 12-24 hours, to a blood clot through a thin tube that is inserted next to or within the clot. This treatment is usually enacted in an emergency because the body has not had enough time to respond by growing new blood vessels to bypass the blockage. The patient is hospitalized during the treatment and will be watched by nurses and doctors in the intensive care unit. Often, the clots will be dissolved but the artery will still be narrowed and additional treatments may be required.
When a blood clot suddenly blocks blood flow, a treatment known as a thrombectomy will remove the clot from the body using various medical tools that can draw out, pull out, or vaporize the clot. The method chosen depends on the preference of the physician and the location of the clot.
The interventional radiology team at ARA is here to help get you back on your feet! Please contact interventional coordinators at (512) 467-Xray (512-467-9729). Faxes can be sent to (512) 343-9099.
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Video about peripheral arterial disease – PAD – treatment
See ARA’s Dr. Michael Nguyen show how PAD treatment works.