Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is disease of any blood vessel that is
not part of the heart or brain. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is
caused by fatty deposits that can build up in the walls of the arteries
(atherosclerosis). PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed
arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs, usually the legs.
PAD is usually caused by atherosclerosis. Other causes include blood
clots or embolisms, congenital heart disease and inflammation of the
blood vessels called vasculitis.
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PAD can be hereditary. You also may get PAD if you are overweight or
obese, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol .
Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, eating a high-fat diet and
not getting enough exercise lead to PAD.
High blood pressure or family history of high blood pressure
Stroke or family history of stroke
High cholesterol or family history of high cholesterol
Age 50 or over
High homocysteine level in blood
Family history of PAD
Symptoms of PAD are related to the organ or part of the body deprived of
blood. This includes:
Pain, fatigue, aching, tightness, weakness, cramping or tingling
in the leg(s) brought on by exercise that goes away when resting
Numbness and pain of the legs or feet at rest
Cold hands, legs or feet
Loss of hair on the legs and/or feet
Paleness or blueness of the legs
Weak or absent pulse in the leg
Sores, ulcer, or infection of the feet and legs that heal slowly
Swelling in lower extremities
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical
exam will be done. During the exam, your doctor may:
Check the strength of the pulse in the leg arteries
Listen for a whooshing sound in a leg artery or the abdomen
using a stethoscope
Check blood pressure at various points in the leg and compare it
to the normal arm blood pressure
Conduct a treadmill test
Your bodily fluids may be tested and this can be done with blood
Images may need to be taken of your internal bodily structures
by ultrasound or doppler analysis
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Your heart activity may need to be tested with an
electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)
Treatments Offered at the Center for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
The following procedures are offered for the treatment of peripheral
arterial disease depending on a patient’s diagnosis:
Endovascular Treatments. PAD can be treated through the
following less invasive procedures:
Arteriogram – are specialized X-ray
studies that are frequently done to check for
blockages or narrowing in the blood vessels.
Sometimes it is possible to treat a blockage
found within an artery during an arteriogram.
Balloon angioplasty– a balloon is
inflated in the artery to stretch it.
Stent implant – a wire mesh tube is
placed in the artery; the stent expands and
stays in place, keeping the artery open.
Lower Extremity Bypass. During a lower extremity bypass
surgery a detour is created around a narrowed, or blocked,
section of a leg artery. To create this new path for the blood
to flow to the leg tissues, a vein from another part of the body
or a synthetic graft replaces the vessel.
To help reduce your chances of getting PAD, make the following lifestyle
Blood pressure control
Increased physical activity such as a walking program
Weight loss, if overweight
Low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet
Foot care, which is very important for people with diabetes:
Wear shoes that fit properly
Proper treatment of all foot injuries as healing
is slowed when circulation is poor, so the risk
of infection is higher
At the Center for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, every patient meets
with one of our highly skilled,
Conditions and Treatments
Vascular disease comes in many different forms and our world class
surgeons are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide-spectrum
of vascular diseases.
Cosmetic Vein Center
St. Elizabeth’s Cosmetic Vein
Center offers both cosmetic and therapeutic treatments of varicose
veins and spider veins.
The Vascular Lab provides
many types of testing and diagnostic services to help diagnosis a
variety of vascular diseases.
Many patients who come to the Center for Vascular and Endovascular
Surgery at St. Elizabeth's have
a story to share about their care, recovery, and success after
surgery or other treatments.
Center for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
St. Elizabeth's Medical Center
736 Cambridge Street
Brighton, MA 02135