Peripheral Arterial Disease
There are several different causes of poor circulation. A common type of vascular problem affecting the legs, aorta, or carotid is peripheral arterial disease, or PAD.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a circulatory issue wherein narrowed arteries restrict blood flow to the limbs. This is more common in the lower legs as the symptoms may be more noticeable. Essentially, the limbs do not receive enough blood to keep up with the demands of day to day use resulting in pain when walking. However, the condition can also reduce blood flow to the heart and brain.
Common symptoms of PAD:
- Pain in the buttocks, hips, thighs, calves, ankles or feet during walking, a condition referred to as claudication
- Pain in the leg, commonly the calves, ankles, or feet at rest
- Ulceration or gangrene involving the legs, most commonly in the foot/toes
- Nerve damage with pain, tingling, or numbness in the lower leg, ankle, and foot
- Weakness in the involved leg
- Coldness in the lower leg and foot
- Weak or absent pulses in the involved leg
- Color changes in the involved leg
- Erectile dysfunction in men
Interventional treatment becomes necessary for PAD when patients’ symptoms, such as pain or tissue loss, develop due to the loss of circulation. Typically endovascular treatments are used after patients have failed conservative therapy, such as medication and supervised exercise, and are experiencing a limitation in lifestyle due to their disease, such as being unable to work.
Minimally Invasive Endovascular Surgery
Peripheral arterial disease can be treated with angioplasty, a minimally invasive endovascular surgery. Angioplasty is a procedure where Dr. Kahn threads a catheter through the blood vessel to the blockage or narrowed artery. Then a small balloon on the tip of the catheter is inflated to reopen the artery by flattening the blockage to the arterial walls and stretching the artery to allow increased blood flow. Sometimes the surgeon will install a stent, a small mesh tube, which acts like scaffolding in the artery to hold it open. If the blockage is caused by a clot, the doctor may utilize thrombolytic therapy, where a clot dissolving drug is injected into the artery near the blockage to break up the clot.
Dr. Kahn is a nationally recognized expert in minimally invasive therapies for diabetic limb rescue and peripheral arterial disease. To learn more about treatments available at New England Endovascular Center call 413-693-2852 to make an appointment.