Peripheral artery disease (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease, affects about 8 million Americans. It is estimated that 1 in 3 diabetics over the age of 50 are suffering from this condition. PAD is a disorder that occurs in the arteries of the circulatory system. Like the blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries), your peripheral arteries (blood vessels outside your heart) also may develop atherosclerosis -- the build-up of fat and cholesterol deposits, called plaque -- on the inside walls. Over time, the arteries may become narrowed from plaque development and cause decreased blood to flow to the body’s tissues, restricting circulation to the limbs and organs. Without adequate blood flow, the kidneys, legs, arms and feet suffer damage. If left untreated, the tissue can die leading to gangrene which can become infected requiring emergency surgery and amputation.
Some individuals with peripheral artery disease can treat the condition by lifestyle modifications and medications. However, more advanced PAD needs to be treated with interventional medical procedures or even surgery such as angioplasty, angioplasty with stent placement, or atherectomy. In some cases, surgical procedures such as peripheral artery bypass surgery may be performed to reroute blood flow around the blood vessel blockage. Take this opportunity to have your questions about peripheral artery disease answered by Dr. Natalie Evans and Dr. Lee Kirksey and learn about the unique way Cleveland Clinic specialists can help prevent amputation as a result of this disease. .
Dr. Natalie Evans is a specialist in the Department of Vascular Medicine in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine. Her area of expertise includes general vascular medicine, post-thrombotic syndrome, deep vein thrombosis and peripheral artery disease.
Dr. Lee Kirksey is a vascular surgeon in the Department of Vascular Surgery of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic. He specializes in the treatment of peripheral vascular disease, including both endovascular and traditional open therapy as well as urgent surgery.
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