What is Peripheral Artery Disease?
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) happens when cholesterol blocks blood flow within the walls of the vessels in the arms, legs, neck (carotid arteries), aorta, or any artery outside of the heart. PAD increases the risk of having a heart attack by five to six times. PAD can also include aneurysms in arteries.
Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease
Symptoms of PAD vary by the location of the disease and whether it involves blockages or aneurysms. Patients with aneurysms often have no symptoms. But as the aneurysm enlarges, pressure can build. If the layers of the artery tear (called dissection), patients might experience pain.
Patients with blockage in the arteries of the extremities sometimes feel pain during activity. A blockage within the arteries in the neck can cause stroke. A blockage in the arteries in the abdomen can lead to intestinal angina (mesenteric ischemia), which usually causes pain when eating.
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UR Medicine's Treatments for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
The tests we run to diagnose peripheral artery disease include:
- Vascular ultrasound also known as vascular sonography or duplex ultrasonography, is a medical imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create real-time images of blood vessels in the body. It is a non-invasive and safe diagnostic tool commonly used to evaluate the structure and function of arteries and veins. Vascular ultrasound can provide valuable information about blood flow, blockages, narrowing (stenosis), and other vascular conditions without the need for radiation or invasive procedures.
- Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) is a medical test used to assess the health of the arteries in the lower limbs, particularly the legs and feet. It is a simple and non-invasive test that provides valuable information about the blood flow and circulation in these extremities.
- Segmental pressures refer to the measurement of blood pressure at various points along a specific segment of an individual's extremity, typically the arms or legs. These measurements are used to assess blood flow and identify potential blockages or abnormalities in the arteries within that segment.
Overall, we work to help patients achieve healthy blood pressure and cholesterol and blood-sugar levels. In most patients, medication can help prevent blood clots or further obstruction to blood flow in the arteries.
Occasionally, if there’s a blockage, patients will need an angiogram or stents to improve blood flow.
Aneurysms can often be repaired with a minimally invasive catheter procedure using a thin tube, though surgical repair is sometimes needed.
Between our Cardiac Care and Vein Care Center teams, we offer traditional surgery, including open aortic surgery, bypass for peripheral arterial disease, and carotid endarterectomy. Our vascular surgeons often collaborate with specialists in cardiothoracic surgery and neurology, providing a multidisciplinary approach to disease management.
What Sets Us Apart?
UR Medicine is a referral center for the most complex cardiac and vascular surgeries, which means other hospitals in the Rochester area send their most challenging cases to us. These other hospitals trust us because UR Medicine leads the region in the number and scope of specialized services for this type of care.
As the only academic medical center in the area, we’re involved in research studies of the latest treatments. So our patients’ care can be based on the very latest findings.
We also offer the most minimally invasive options in the region, which reduce pain, length of hospital stays, and risk of infection. UR Medicine’s advanced surgical facilities give patients access to specialized options like endovascular aortic repair (EVAR) and transcarotid artery stenting (TCAR).
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