Information for Patients
Peripheral Arterial Disease (or PAD) is when the arteries in your legs become blocked and your legs do not receive enough blood or oxygen. When you have this disease, you may have symptoms such as pain or discomfort when you walk. The pain can occur in your hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, shins, or upper feet.
PAD is caused by the buildup of plaque (substance made up of cholesterol, calcium and fibrous tissue) in the arteries of the legs. As more plaque builds up, your arteries narrow and stiffen. Eventually, enough plaque builds up to reduce blood flow to your leg arteries. When this happens, your leg does not receive the oxygen it needs.
Once diagnosed, PAD can sometimes be treated with lifestyle changes such as eating right and getting plenty of exercise or with medication. However, in more severe cases, further intervention is needed and may be recommended by your physician.
Angioplasty and stents are often used to widen the artery, thereby allowing more blood flow. Angioplasty consists of inserting a small balloon into the narrow part of the artery and expanding it, pushing back the plaque. Stents are small tubes of fabric reinforced with a metal mesh designed to remain in the artery providing a reinforced wall to hold the artery open.
The experts at VCU Medical Center’s Department of Radiology use guided imaging techniques to perform these minimally-invasive procedures providing for reduced need for lengthy hospital stays and a minimum of downtime and pain.
For more information or to schedule a procedure or consultation, please call 804.828.6986.