Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment with Angioplasty

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is an incredibly common condition. According to the American Heart Association, peripheral artery disease affects over 8.5 million Americans.

Fortunately, when it comes to peripheral artery disease treatment, mild cases can sometimes be treated with lifestyle changes and/or medication. Lifestyle changes that can be used to treat PAD include quitting smoking, eating healthier, and/or exercising regularly. Most medication management is aimed at mitigating risk factors by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and/or managing diabetes.

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What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral artery disease occurs when fatty deposits or plaque build up inside the vessels that carry blood to the legs and feet. While many patients don’t exhibit any symptoms, those that do can experience the following:

  • Discomfort, fatigue, heaviness, and cramping in the leg muscles during activity
  • Pain in the legs and/or feet that disturbs sleep
  • Sores or wounds on toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly or not at all
  • Color changes in the skin of the feet, including paleness and blueness
  • Lower temperature in one leg compared to the other leg
  • Poor toenail growth and/or decreased hair growth on legs

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Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment

When lifestyle changes and medication don’t work, or PAD progresses in severity, there are several treatments aimed at restoring blood flow available. The physicians at Vascular & Vein Institute of Siouxland often use an angioplasty for peripheral artery disease treatment.

An angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat arteries with decreased blood flow. To begin, the physician will thread a catheter to the area of interest. Once in position, they will use the catheter to place an inflatable balloon in the blocked area of the artery. The physician will inflate the balloon, expanding the artery and compacting the blockage, improving the blood flow in the artery.

In some instances, the physician may choose to place a stent, a permanent implant, after using the inflatable balloon to clear the artery. Once the stent is in position, it will expand to the correct size and shape of the artery.

Using an angioplasty for peripheral artery disease treatment helps to immediately reduce pain, return patients to a more normal lifestyle, and prevent or delay the risk of losing a leg or foot to amputation.