Related Media: Angioplasty
Surgery is often reserved for PAD that is causing severe symptoms, when other methods fail, or there is a danger of limb loss. The main goal of surgery is to immediately improve blood flow to the affected areas.
If blood flow to your limb is blocked or nearly blocked, your doctor may recommend bypass grafting. During this operation, a healthy blood vessel is removed from the leg or another area of the body. The healthy blood vessel is attached to the damaged artery just above and just below the damaged area. Blood will then be able to bypass the damaged area by moving through the new blood vessel.
Percutaneous angioplasty uses catheters to help view and open blood vessels. A thin catheter is passed into larger arteries like those in your groin and passed through blood vessels to the blocked area. Instruments can then be used to remove or dissolve clots, open the pathway by compressing plaque, or place devices, called stents that help prop blood vessels open. Cryoplasty is another method that uses nitrous oxide to cool and open the artery.
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Hills AJ, Shalhoub J, et al. Peripheral arterial disease. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2009;70(10):560-565.
How is peripheral arterial disease treated? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pad/treatment.html. Updated June 2, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 13, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.
Prevention and treatment of PAD. American Heart Association
website. Available at:
Updated February 26, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.
11/4/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: McCaslin JE, Andras A, et al. Cryoplasty for peripheral arterial disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;8:CD005507.
Last reviewed August 2013 by Michael J. Fucci, DO; Brian Randall, MD
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