Peripheral Arterial DiseaseEarly detection and treatment of PAD can reduce the chance of future stroke, heart attack, and early death. Planning the best coarse of treatment needs to be individualized to each patient. Your RAS Interventional Radiologist or Vascular Surgeon will assist in formulating an appropriate treatment plan.
Twelve to 20 percent of Americans older than 65 suffer from peripheral arterial disease (PAD) but only one-third are symptomatic. Left untreated, PAD is a progressive disease that may become severe enough that the reduced blood flow causes chronic skin breakdown or infections, especially in diabetics, that may ultimately require amputation. The most common cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, often called "hardening of the arteries." Smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and family history are the biggest risk factors for developing PAD.
If PAD is suspected your doctor may order a vascular ultrasound examination of the blood vessels in the legs and a test called an ankle brachial index (ABI) which compares blood flow between the arms and legs. If abnormalities are detected on the vascular ultrasound or ABI, additional testing with CT angiography (CTA), MR angiography (MRA) or an arteriogram can provide a more detailed evaluation of PAD. The diagnosis of PAD is a red flag because atherosclerosis in the legs typically indicates that the same process is going on in the arteries of the heart and brain. Not surprisingly, PAD is associated with other life-threatening vascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke.