Vascular disease is a common problem of blood circulation. The blood vessels become narrowed or clogged by fatty or cholesterol deposits called plaque. This can cause several health issues, including heart attack, stroke, aneurysms or kidney problems. Vascular disease can be caused by other rare conditions too, such as birth defects, clotting disorders and genetic problems that create thick artery walls.
The vascular care team at The University of Kansas Health System includes a variety of specialists. We offer comprehensive vascular services using the latest diagnostic tools and advanced treatments.
What is vascular disease?
The vascular system includes a network of veins and arteries that supplies blood throughout the body. When normal circulation through this system of blood vessels is disrupted, serious injury can result. Vascular disease can affect any area of the body, including the limbs, kidneys, heart and brain.
Types of vascular disease
Vascular disease can take many forms. Our specialists treat all types of vascular disease, some of which include:
Vascular disease symptoms and risks
The signs and symptoms of vascular disease vary depending on which blood vessels are affected, the suddenness of symptoms and how much of the vascular system is affected. Because symptoms can widely vary, receiving an accurate diagnosis is critical for ensuring proper treatment.
Vascular disease affects both men and women and is more likely to occur as you age. Other factors that put you at risk for vascular disease include:
Vascular disease diagnosis and screening
The University of Kansas Health System offers the most current imaging tests to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment. Your vascular specialist will determine the best diagnostic test depending on your symptoms and their onset.
Our physicians use the latest cardiac MRI equipment. This new machine allows cardiac stress testing without radiation. It also helps diagnose obese patients, who may have had problems with other tests.
A CT, or computerized axial tomography machine, uses X-rays to make a detailed picture of your heart and blood vessels. An iodine dye (contrast material) may be injected to see your heart more clearly. The University of Kansas Hospital has one of the most current scanners.
Also called a Doppler ultrasound, this procedure involves placing a small probe on your skin and using sound waves to make an image of your blood vessels on a computer. The image lets your doctor see any abnormal structures or functions. Your doctor can read the test on the same day.
Your physician inserts a small catheter from your groin area or arm into the arteries that have blockages. The catheter delivers a dye that shows up on an X-ray. This test allows your doctor to measure the width of your arteries and detect any narrowing.
This is another way to describe the diagnostic vascular ultrasound. A technician places a small probe on your body and uses sound waves to make images of your blood vessels. This test may look at your neck, kidneys, arms, legs or stomach area.
Vascular disease treatment
Treatment for vascular disease will depend on your specific diagnosis. Your doctor will talk with you about the best approach to vascular disease treatment.
- Medical management: Your doctor may suggest medicines, diet changes, exercise and other lifestyle modifications to decrease your risk for complications from vascular disease.
- Minimally invasive or noninvasive treatments: Our physicians specialize in using the most advanced minimally invasive treatment options for opening blocked arteries, including:
- Angiogram: Provides an image of the blood vessels
- Angioplasty: Involves inserting a small catheter from your groin area into the artery that is blocked and inflating a prosthetic device to open the arteries
- Drug-coated balloons
- Atherectomy (clearing the artery mechanically)
- Lasers to clear the arteries
- Surgery: In addition to minimally invasive treatments, our physicians offer a complete range of surgical treatments for vascular disease. Our state-of-the-art surgery center offers a sophisticated hybrid suite that allows doctors from multiple specialties to perform complex procedures.
Vascular and endovascular surgery
Specially trained surgeons at The University of Kansas Health System surgically repair damaged or diseased blood vessels. Our vascular surgeons work closely with cardiologists, neurologists and interventional radiologists to develop and implement comprehensive, individualized treatment plans.
- Aortic aneurysm
- Arteriosclerosis of the extremities (a hardening of the arteries that supply the legs and feet)
- Carotid artery disease
- Deep vein thrombosis and thrombophlebitis
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Varicose veins
Our surgeons are experts in both vascular surgery and a less-invasive technique called endovascular surgery, which can be used to treat aneurysm (dilation of the artery) and stenosis (narrowing of the artery). This advanced surgery results in less pain, quicker recovery and less strain on the heart.
Why choose us for vascular disease care?
The vascular team at The University of Kansas Health System includes experts from multiple specialties who work together to provide you with comprehensive care in one location. These physicians are leaders in their field and use the most current treatment options. Your treatment team may include specialists from:
- Cardiovascular surgery
- Interventional radiology
- Neurology and neurosurgery
- Vascular medicine
- Vascular surgery
Newest treatments and technology
Because we are an academic medical center, you benefit from the latest treatments and technology. Your care team will develop a customized treatment plan using a comprehensive range of the latest procedures and diagnostic tests. Our facilities are among the newest and most advanced. They include:
- A dedicated vascular ultrasound laboratory
- Advanced MRI and CT angiography technology
- Hybrid surgical suites
- Wound care clinic
Our highly experienced physicians and surgeons work together to provide the best care possible. In addition to our vascular team, we have specialists in more than 200 fields. Their expertise may prove valuable in your diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.
Minimally invasive surgery
Our physicians are at the forefront of the newest surgical, nonsurgical and minimally invasive techniques for vascular care. These treatments offer shorter hospital stays and fewer risks than traditional surgery. They are often the only option for those who are unable to receive surgery due to age or other health-related conflicts.