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Endovascular Treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

While there have been a multitude advances made in the medical field in the past few decades, common problems remain common. Obesity, hypertension, and diabetes continue to represent some of the most commonly encountered problems in a physician’s office. When these issues are combined with smoking, they can accelerate a disease called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis represents a remodeling of blood vessel walls and plaque deposition, decreasing the diameter of the vessel lumen. This means that the vessels and organs on the other side of this obstruction receive less blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients. One of the most common complications of atherosclerosis is peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Symptoms of PAD usually include pain and claudication. Claudication literally means “to limp”. Patients experience increasing leg pain with ambulation. If the blockage is severe it can result in rest pain or ulceration. Most physicians will try to manage atherosclerosis initially using medications, dietary changes, smoking cessation, and exercise. A duplex ultrasound can help measure the amount of disease and determine the expected results of conservative therapy. Despite these measures, advanced disease causing tissue loss or increasing pain requires treatment from a vascular surgeon.

For most patients, the first step in PAD treatment is endovascular therapy. Endovascular treatment is minimally invasive procedure that relies on catheters, wires, and stents to treat the blocked area. This prevents the need for large incisions and open surgery in many cases. As a result, patients are often discharged the same day with minimal recovery time.  In an endovascular treatment of PAD, the surgeon will insert a small IV and wire through the groin. Once a blood vessel has been accessed, the surgeon will use imaging to guide the wire into position past the affected artery. From here, the diseased artery disease will be treated using a balloon to widen the blood vessel (angioplasty) or a stent to hold open the vessel and increase blood flow. Should these measures fail, open bypass is also a possibility. These are all options at the disposal of the surgeon. Treatment is selected depending on each individual patient case to maximize success and minimize complications.

Endovascular treatment of PAD can be a technically challenging procedure that demands the expertise of an experienced vascular surgeon. In addition to the skills of the surgeon, the location of the PAD and the capabilities of the hospital all influence the outcome of the procedure. Dr. Jenna Kazil is a double board-certified, skilled, and compassionate vascular surgeon in Bradenton, FL, who helps patients at the Florida Surgical Clinic. Dr. Kazil understand that PAD is a major problem and has performed a wide variety of endovascular treatments over her career. Patients looking for an impressive vascular surgeon should contact Dr. Kazil at Florida Surgical Clinic for all their surgical and vascular needs.