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Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Friday, October 19, 2018 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

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Natalie Evans, MD

  • Medical Director of the Non-Invasive Vascular Laboratory
  • Co-Director of the HVI Unified Vascular Labs
  • Vascular Medicine Specialist

Lee Kirksey, MD

  • Vascular Surgeon

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) -- also known as peripheral vascular disease, atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries -- is a disorder that occurs in the arteries of the circulatory system. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from the heart to all areas of the body. PAD occurs in the arteries that carry blood to the arms and legs. Please take this time to ask vascular medicine specialist, Natalie Evans, MD, and vascular surgeon, Lee Kirksey, MD, your questions on PAD.

Healthy arteries have a smooth lining that prevents blood from clotting and promotes steady blood flow. In PAD, the arteries slowly become narrowed or blocked when plaque gradually forms inside the artery walls. Plaque is made of excessive fat, cholesterol and other substances floating through the bloodstream, such as inflammatory cells, proteins and calcium. If the arteries become narrowed or blocked, blood cannot get through to nourish organs and other tissues, causing damage to the tissues and eventually tissue death.

The rate at which PAD progresses varies with each individual and depends on many factors, including where in the body the plaque has formed and the person’s overall health.

Risk factors for PAD include smoking, diabetes, age, race, history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Conditions associated with PAD include heart attack, stroke, transient ischemic attack, renal artery disease, and amputation.

Peripheral arterial disease starts when fatty deposits start streaking the blood vessel walls. The fatty matter builds up. This causes slight injury to your blood vessel walls. In an attempt to heal itself, the cells release chemicals that make the walls stickier. Other substances floating through your bloodstream start sticking to the vessel walls, such as inflammatory cells, proteins and calcium. The fat and other substances combine to form a material called plaque or atherosclerosis. The plaque builds up and narrows the artery.

Natalie Evans, MD, is Medical Director of the Non-Invasive Vascular Laboratory at Cleveland Clinic, Co-Director of the HVI Unified Vascular Labs, and a vascular medicine specialist in the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic. She is also the Assistant Director of the Cleveland Clinic Pharmacy’s Anticoagulation Clinics and is involved with quality and safety initiatives for prevention of venous thromboembolism at all Cleveland Clinic locations. Her specialty interests include Post-thrombotic (post-phlebitic) syndrome, deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, general vascular medicine, and noninvasive testing for vascular disease.

Lee Kirksey, MD, is a vascular surgeon in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute. He is board certified in surgery with special qualifications in vascular surgery and is a registered vascular technologist. His specialty interests include Carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease, venous insufficiency, bypass surgery for atherosclerosis/PAD/PVD , carotid endarterectomy, carotid stenting, dialysis access surgery, endovascular repair of carotid artery disease, limb salvage, wound care, and minimally invasive treatment of abdominal aortic disease.

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