Peripheral Artery Disease

Treating Circulatory Issues in the Leg Using Innovative Techniques

Your arteries work hard to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your arms and legs. However, plaque buildup can prevent vital blood flow to your extremities, resulting in a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD).

At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, our board-certified vascular experts diagnose, treat and manage peripheral arterial disease (PAD) using innovative and minimally invasive techniques.

What Is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral arterial disease develops in the leg arteries due to a buildup of plaque called atherosclerosis. This plaque buildup is primarily fat, cholesterol and calcium. Atherosclerosis decreases blood flow to the legs, often resulting in leg pain, swelling or sores. PAD can occur in any extremity, but it most commonly affects the legs.

In some extreme circumstances or the case of critical limb ischemia, PAD can also lead to gangrene and amputation if left untreated.

Peripheral Artery Disease
runner with leg pain

What Are the Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease?

The most common symptom of PAD is claudication — pain in the legs or feet during or after physical activity. However, the American Heart Association estimates that 4 out of 10 PAD patients do not experience claudication. Approximately 50% of PAD patients are asymptomatic, meaning they do not experience any symptoms of PAD. 

While many people who have PAD are asymptomatic, there are some other signs of the condition you can monitor for. Common peripheral arterial disease symptoms include:

  • Weak or numb limbs
  • A burning, aching, or pins and needles sensation during activity or at rest
  • Muscle cramps after physical activity
  • Frequent leg or foot sores and infections
  • Numb, cold or weak legs and feet
  • A slow pulse in your legs, feet or toes
  • Thin, brittle or cracked skin on the legs or feet
  • Shiny or discolored skin on the legs or feet
  • Thick, opaque toenails
  • Slow hair growth on the legs
  • Slow hair or nail growth on the feet

 

Even if you have not experienced these symptoms of peripheral artery disease, we encourage you to schedule a screening with one of our vascular specialists at the Texas Vein & Wellness Institute. Our compassionate physicians use advanced, minimally invasive treatment methods to diagnose and manage symptoms of PAD and improve your quality of life.

what are the symptoms of PAD

What Causes Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Atherosclerosis — or plaque buildup — is the primary cause of peripheral arterial disease. However, blood vessel inflammation, injuries to your extremities that prevent adequate blood flow, or limb damage from radiation exposure can also cause PAD.

That said, there are certain risk factors associated with PAD. These risk factors often include advanced age or a family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke or peripheral vascular disease. Other PAD risk factors could include the following:

  • Your gender
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • A body mass index (BMI) over 30

How Is Peripheral Arterial Disease Treated? 

There are several treatment options available for PAD. However, all treatment begins with diagnosis. While there are many ways to diagnose PAD, the most common is via an X-ray examination of the blood vessels through an angiography — whether that is a computed tomography angiography (CTA), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or catheter-based angiography. 

Once the physician diagnoses PAD, they work with the patient to select the best treatment method. Most treatment methods are minimally invasive, allowing patients to recover quickly. PAD treatment methods include angiography with revascularization, angioplasty, atherectomy and stenting.

how is pad treated

How Is Treatment for PAD Performed?

Angiography with revascularization — the process of opening a blocked blood vessel — is a leg-saving treatment option for PAD. This minimally invasive procedure is performed by a Vascular Interventional Radiologist, a specialist with expertise in these techniques. 

Treatment begins with inserting a tiny tube or catheter in the artery in the foot or groin. No incision is made. Instead, the catheter is inserted through a pinhole made in the skin, approximately the width of the tip of a pencil. Using specialized X-ray equipment, the physician passes tools to the site of vessel blockage or narrowing to treat and restore the normal caliber of the vessel.

The entire treatment usually lasts one to two hours. Patients often return home the same day. After a few days of rest and recovery, patients can return to work and resume normal activities. 

Peripheral Artery Disease
how is treatment for PAD performed

Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatment at Texas Vein & Wellness Institute

At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, our board-certified physicians use state-of-the-art technology and minimally invasive treatment methods to diagnose and treat PAD.

While treating PAD, Dr. Bhatti uses a vital imaging modality called intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) to perform a thorough evaluation of vascular disease. This ensures the selection of the most appropriate individualized therapy. Foregoing the use of this vital technology can lead to suboptimal results. IVUS also minimizes the amount of contrast — or X-ray dye — used during the procedure, as an excess of this substance may harm the kidneys.

Dr. Bhatti also believes in an individualized treatment plan. Rather than only managing the easier-to-treat “upstream” disease involving the large vessels above the knee, he also treats disease in arteries below the knees and within the foot. This area is more challenging to treat but is increasingly being seen and is often the true source of patients’ symptoms. This approach is more effective in resolving symptoms and healing diabetic foot wounds, resulting in more durable, long-term outcomes.

pad treatment at txvwi

Contact Texas Vein & Wellness Institute for PAD Treatment in Houston

Your arteries are vital to your health. If you are experiencing symptoms of peripheral artery disease that are affecting your quality of life or are seeking peripheral arterial disease treatment in Houston, Texas, contact Texas Vein & Wellness Institute today. We operate six accredited vein treatment centers in Texas, serving Houston and the surrounding areas. You can depend on our compassionate team of vascular specialists to provide unrivaled care.

Fill out our online contact form or call 281-888-1464 to learn more about our PAD treatment options or schedule a private consultation or screening today.

Peripheral Artery Disease

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