Peripheral Vascular Disease Management
Peripheral Vascular Disease Management
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), also called peripheral artery disease (PAD), is a circulation disorder that occurs in a blood vessel outside of the heart. This slow, progressive disease can affect arteries, veins, or lymphatic vessels and most commonly is found in the legs or feet.
PVD occurs when there is plaque buildup in the arteries that carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from your heart to your extremities (arms and legs). When the plaque builds up, it causes the arteries to become narrow or even blocked. This can lead to an increased risk for blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. Additionally, patients with PVD are at risk for tissue damage since blood cannot get through the arteries to nourish the organs and other tissues.
The team at Capital Area Cardiovascular Associates works with patients who are diagnosed with PVD. If you are waiting to see a cardiologist for PVD, contact our office today for an appointment.
Peripheral Vascular Disease Risk Factors
The top risk factor for PVD is smoking. In fact, approximately 80% of patients with peripheral vascular disease are either smokers or former smokers. The best thing to do to reduce your risk for PVD is to quit smoking. If you need help quitting smoking, talk to Dr. Nadar about a smoking cessation program. Other risk factors for both men and women include:
- Age 50+
- Are African American
- Family history of PVD
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Blood clotting disorder
- Kidney disease
Patients with PVD are also likely to have coronary artery disease, and are at a higher risk for heart attack, stroke, or mini stroke. Symptoms of PVD include:
- Leg pain
- Changes in the skin
- Weak pulse in the legs or feet
- Hair loss on the legs
- Would that don't heal on pressure points (heels, ankles)
If you have high risk factors for and symptoms of peripheral vascular disease, contact our office in Camp Hill, Pa., or Newport, Pa. for an appointment.
Peripheral Vascular Disease Diagnosis
To determine a diagnosis for PVD, Dr. Nadar will perform a complete exam and review your medical history. There are several tests to help assist with a diagnosis including:
- Ankle-brachial index (ABI): An ABI is the measurement of the blood pressure in your legs compared to the blood pressure in your arms. Blood pressure cuffs are placed on the patient’s arms and legs and an ultrasound is used to listen to the blood flow. ABI is determined by the systolic blood pressure of the ankle divided by the systolic pressure of the arm. ABI screenings are a highly accurate way to diagnose PVD.
- Pulse volume recording (PVR) waveform analysis: A PVR is a noninvasive test that uses blood pressure cuffs and a Doppler recording device to record pulse and blood volume changes in the legs. The device displays the results as a waveform.
- Angiography: An angiography uses X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerized tomography (CT) scans to find blockages of the arteries. A dye contrast is used to help arteries show up more easily on the scans.
Based on your symptoms and medical history, Dr. Nadar may use one of these diagnostic tests or others to determine if you have PVD. If you have questions about an upcoming test, contact our office.
Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatment
If you have PVD, there are several different treatment options to help improve blood flow throughout your body. In addition to lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet, and quitting smoking, treatment plans may include one of or a combination of the following:
- Cholesterol drugs
- Blood pressure drugs
- Medications to help control blood sugar, blood clots, or leg pain
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat peripheral vascular disease. Angioplasty and stent placement, bypass surgery, and thrombolytic therapy may be recommended. Dr. Nadar will discuss these options with you should they be necessary in your treatment plan.