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Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Care

How is Peripheral Arterial Disease Diagnosed?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)—also referred to as peripheral vascular disease—is a circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow. This narrowing is usually due to a blockage in the blood vessels and is typically found in the legs, arms, kidneys, or stomach. If the narrowing becomes severe enough, severe symptoms or health issues may occur.
The first step to treating PAD is receiving an accurate diagnosis.

Depending on where your artery disease is suspected, diagnostic tactics will vary:

  • Leg and arm: We implement a variety of non-invasive tests to check for PAD in the legs and arms. These include comparing the blood pressure of different parts of the leg and arm, obtaining ultrasound images to analyze blood vessels, and taking CT scans or MRI scans to look for blocked arteries. Additionally, we perform angiograms, where a small catheter is placed in the blood vessel and x-rays are taken.
  • Stomach and kidney: In addition to performing a thorough ultrasound to diagnose PAD, we offer CT and MRI scans to check for blocked arteries in the stomach or kidney. We also utilize angiograms, where a specialist will take an x-ray of the affected area to identify individual arteries.

Innovative PAD Treatments

At Winchester Cardiology and Vascular Medicine, we are committed to treating the individual, not just the disease. That is why we customize each treatment to suit your unique condition. We might utilize medication, lifestyle management, minimally invasive intervention techniques, surgery, or a combination of treatments to treat blocked arteries.

Medications can include blood thinners—such as Plavix, Xarelto, Aspirin, or Pletal—cholesterol therapy solutions, or blood pressure controlling drugs. Lifestyle changes such as diabetes management, smoking cessation, and exercise program have also been shown to be effective in improving symptoms.

For those with more extensive artery clogs, our interventional cardiologists and our surgical colleagues at Valley Health offer procedures including:

  • Stents
  • Drug-coated balloons
  • Atherectomy
  • Endarterectomy
  • Bypass

With these procedures, symptoms can improve immediately. However, blood thinner medication is needed for some time afterward to help protect stents from clots. We also typically perform follow-up testing a month after your procedure to confirm that the blockage is gone.

Monitoring PAD

What to Watch Out for with Peripheral Artery Disease

Once you are diagnosed with PAD, it is important to not only stay on top of your prescribed treatment plan, but also to monitor any changes in your condition to ensure symptoms do not worsen. Depending on where the clogged artery is located, symptoms will vary.

Below are a few effects to watch out for:

  • Legs:
    • Pain or tightness, especially in your calves when walking
    • Slowly healing sores on your toes or the bottom of your feet
  • Arms:
    • Arm pain when using your arm
    • Dizziness when using your arm
  • Stomach:
    • Pain in your stomach typically 15 – 30 minutes after eating
  • Kidneys:
    • Blood pressure that is hard to control with medication
    • Poor kidney function, which is detected with blood work

Our team is here to assist patients experiencing PAD. For customized and comprehensive PAD diagnosis, management, and treatment, call us at 540-662-0306 to speak to one of our staff members.