What causes peripheral artery disease (PAD)?
You can develop peripheral artery disease or PAD in any of your peripheral arteries, but it frequently affects your legs. Atherosclerosis, the accumulation of cholesterol-laden plaque in the artery, causes PAD. Over time, the plaque enlarges and hardens, which narrows the artery and restricts blood flow.
What symptoms develop if I have peripheral artery disease?
Symptoms of peripheral artery disease don’t appear until the plaque gets large enough to significantly block the artery. Then you experience:
- Leg pain when walking that feels better when you rest
- Leg fatigue or heaviness
- Leg tingling or numbness
- Slow-healing leg ulcers
- Thickened, discolored skin
- Hair loss on the affected leg
Untreated PAD leads to dangerous complications such as tissue death.
How is peripheral artery disease treated?
Your treatment from Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates includes aggressively managing the lifestyle factors that contribute to atherosclerosis and medications to treat the underlying causes of peripheral artery disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
If your blockage is severe, Dr. Chadda eliminates the plaque with treatments such as:
Lower extremity angioplasty and stenting
Lower extremity angioplasty removes plaque in your leg using a catheter that features a balloon. Dr. Chadda makes a tiny incision, inserts the catheter into a blood vessel, and threads it to the blockage.
When the catheter is in place, he inflates the balloon, pushing the plaque against the artery wall and reopening the vessel. Then he deploys a stent, a wire mesh tube that stays in the artery to keep the artery open.
Carotid angioplasty and stenting
Carotid angioplasty and stenting is the same procedure to remove atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid artery.
This procedure uses a catheter with a blade to remove the plaque. Dr. Chadda frequently performs a rotational atherectomy, which uses a high-speed rotary blade to grind the plaque into microscopic pieces.
Why might I need IVC filter placement for PAD?
Atherosclerotic plaque can rupture. When that happens, a blood clot develops that can break free and get into your bloodstream. Then the blood clot can enter your lungs, heart, or brain, causing a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke, respectively.
Dr. Chadda prevents blood clots from reaching those critical areas by inserting a filter in the inferior vena cava (IVC). The IVC is a large vein in your abdomen that returns blood from the lower part of your body to your heart.
Using real-time imaging to guide the procedure, Dr. Chadda inserts a catheter into a large vein in your neck or thigh and guides it to the IVC. Then he releases a filter that expands into the vein.
When other treatments eliminate the risk of a blood clot, Dr. Chadda can do another minimally invasive procedure to retrieve and remove the IVC filter.
If you develop leg pain or need treatment for peripheral artery disease, call Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates, or schedule an appointment online.