Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
One of the most common forms of vascular disease is peripheral artery disease, or PAD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 8 million people in the United States have PAD. Although it is easily diagnosed, PAD often goes undiagnosed until it reaches an advanced stage.
The University of Kansas Health System offers sophisticated screening evaluations for PAD, along with the most advanced treatment options. Our team will tailor treatment to meet your individual needs, choosing from a complete range of the latest surgical and minimally invasive procedures to restore blood flow.
What is peripheral artery disease?
Peripheral artery disease is a common but serious disease that occurs when extra cholesterol and other fats circulating in the blood collect in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to your limbs. This buildup, called plaque, can narrow arteries and reduce or block blood flow.
PAD is typically seen in the legs and lower extremities but can also be present in the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys and stomach. Innovations in minimally invasive surgery treat more serious forms of this disease and can provide significantly improved outcomes to halt or slow its progress.
Peripheral artery disease symptoms and risks
The most common symptom of PAD is pain or cramping while walking, typically in the calves or thighs. This pain usually disappears after a few minutes of rest. However, up to 40% of people have no leg pain.
Other peripheral artery disease symptoms include:
- Cold and numb feet and toes
- Discoloration of the feet and ankles
- Foot pain when you are at rest
- Slow-healing sores
Adults over 50 and African Americans are at an increased risk of developing PAD. Other risk factors include:
Peripheral artery disease diagnosis and screening
Early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral artery disease are essential to decreasing your risk for more serious health problems. The University of Kansas Health System specialists use noninvasive 64-slice CT equipment, which produces high-quality images to accurately diagnose PAD.
Proactive PAD screening can reduce your risk for complications. The University of Kansas Health System offers today's most innovative and trusted diagnostic tests:
- Ankle-brachial index
- Blood testing
- CT angiogram
- Doppler ultrasound
Other screening examinations are available when necessary.
Peripheral artery disease treatment
PAD can occasionally be treated by medication and lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking, exercising, weight loss and diet changes. Also, minimally invasive procedures such as angioplasty and stenting are used to successfully treat advanced forms of this disease.
Angioplasty and stenting are generally low-risk procedures that result in significantly improved outcomes. In addition, these procedures are performed in an outpatient setting, require mild sedation and permit you to return to your daily routine quickly with an improved quality of life.
Previously, treatment for peripheral artery disease required surgery. In some cases, PAD was considered untreatable. Today, new devices and techniques allow our physicians to provide minimally invasive treatments for peripheral artery disease:
Atherectomy removes plaque from the artery by delicately shaving the narrowed segment.
Cryoplasty balloons open narrowed arteries to prevent excessive scar tissue and possible blockage recurrence.
This type of catheterization uses heat from a laser or radio frequency-emitting electrode to clear blockages.
Stents hold arteries open with wire-mesh tubes. The latest versions are more flexible and resistant to bending and kinking. Some stents are lined with the same material as traditional surgical bypass grafts. These effectively create an endovascular bypass.
Why choose us for peripheral artery disease treatment
The vascular team at The University of Kansas Health System includes a team of doctors from multiple specialties. Interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists work together to provide you with comprehensive care in one location. These heart and vascular specialists are leaders in their field and use the most current treatment options.
Your care team will develop a customized treatment plan using a comprehensive range of the latest minimally invasive procedures to restore blood flow. These procedures result in a faster recovery, shorter hospital stay, reduced risk of infection and less pain and scarring.
As a patient, you may be eligible to participate in clinical trials for PAD. You'll have the opportunity to receive the most advanced drug therapies or procedures only available in a clinical trial. Your physician will discuss any clinical trials appropriate for your condition.