Common conditions we treat in the field of Vascular Medicine include:
- Peripheral arterial disease/claudication - blockages in the leg arteries; may cause pain with walking
- Carotid artery stenosis - blockages in the neck arteries; may lead to a stroke
- Renal artery stenosis - blockages in the kidney arteries; may contribute to high blood pressure and/or chronic kidney disease
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) - a bulging of the aorta that may cause it to rupture.
- Venous problems such as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and chronic venous insufficiency
- Raynaud’s, vasculitis, lymphedema, and other less common vascular conditions
Facts About Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
If the wall of the aorta becomes weak, the force of the blood flowing through this artery can make the wall bulge out like a balloon. This bulge, or aneurysm, can grow large and rupture (burst), which causes dangerous bleeding in the body. Most people who have an AAA show no signs or symptoms until it ruptures. A ruptured AAA often leads to death.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Peripheral artery, or arterial, disease (PAD) is a blockage or narrowing (stenosis) of arteries that supply blood to the legs, often due to a buildup of fatty plaque inside the arteries. PAD, once known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), can make it painful to walk, which discourages exercise and creates a vicious circle of increased levels of arterial disease.
Peripheral Artery Disease: What You Need to Know
- Peripheral artery disease is usually caused by atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty plaque, cholesterol and other deposits inside your artery walls.
- Claudication, a pain or weakness in the legs that occurs while walking or exercising, is often a symptom of peripheral artery disease.
- Our vascular surgeon's goals will be to reduce atherosclerosis through medication and lifestyle changes. Stenting — inserting an expanding tube that pushes open the artery — may become necessary.
The most consistently effective, noninvasive treatment for peripheral artery disease is exercise.
Even though not everybody with PAD experiences symptoms, these warning signs may indicate arterial issues:
- Pain during exercise, which is relieved during rest
- Cold legs
- Poor wound healing
- Constant leg pain, tingling, burning or loss of sensation
- Family history
- Increasing age
- High cholesterol
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Poor diet
- Heart disease
- Physical Inactivity
Vascular ultrasound remains the cornerstone for the non-invasive diagnosis of vascular disease. Our Vascular team offers a comprehensive range of vascular ultrasound services including:
- Non-Invasive Flow Studies (NIFS)
- Carotid ultrasound
- Abdominal aortic ultrasound
- Venous and arterial ultrasounds
Non-invasive vascular evaluations are available at locations throughout the Southeast Missouri area.
Screening and Treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
AAA screening is done using an ultrasound. This safe and painless test uses sound waves to create a picture of the abdominal aorta. The width of the aorta is measured to find out whether it has a bulge.
Treatment for an AAA depends on the size of the aneurysm. If it is small—less than 5.5 centimeters wide (about 2 inches)—the doctor may suggest repeat screenings every so often to monitor for any changes. Surgery is generally recommended only if the AAA is large—5.5 centimeters or more—or is growing very quickly.
Older male smokers have the highest risk of developing an AAA. It is much less common in men who have never smoked and in women who have ever smoked. An “ever smoker” is a person who has smoked at least 100 cigarettes in his or her lifetime. AAA is rare in women who have never smoked.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Screening
A quick, easy and non-invasive procedure, PAD screening is done by using the ankle-brachial index (ABI). After removing your socks and shoes, you will have pressure cuffs placed around your upper arms and ankles. A small ultrasound device will then measure the systolic blood pressure in your limbs.
- Complete Lipid Panel Screening (High Cholesterol) - A simple finger-stick screening, this procedure measures three different kinds of lipids in your blood (HDL, LDL and triglycerides) as well as total cholesterol. Your lipid levels are important in determining your PAD risk.
Who should have a peripheral arterial disease screening?
How often should I get a peripheral arterial disease screening?
*Recommended guidelines only. Consult with your physician.
How do I prepare for a peripheral arterial disease screening?
- Wear a short-sleeve shirt or blouse
- Do not wear pantyhose