Peripheral Arterial Disease
Alternate Names : Peripheral Atherosclerosis, Chronic Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease
What are the treatments for the disease?
Exercise can double the amount of exertion a person can take before claudication occurs. Any exercise program should be discussed first with the healthcare provider. In general, someone with PAD should walk 30 minutes a day. The person should walk until the pain is uncomfortable. After a brief rest to allow the pain to go away, the person should continue walking.
Medicines are sometimes helpful in relieving symptoms of PAD. These include:
aspirin to thin the blood
pentoxifylline to improve the oxygen supply to the muscles
vasodilators, such as calcium antagonists, to improve blood supply
For severe narrowing of arteries, several procedures are helpful. These include angioplasty, stent placement, and bypass surgery.
Angioplasty is a procedure in which a tube with a balloon is inserted into the blocked artery and inflated. This is 90% successful in reopening the artery and allowing blood to flow. After 5 years, however, almost half of these arteries close up again.
Stents are rigid tubes like tiny drinking straws. They can be placed at the reopened area of the artery and reduce the rate of renarrowing.
Surgery can also be done to bypass the narrowed area. Bypass operations are 70% to 85% successful. Their success depends on which artery is being bypassed and the specific method used to bypass it.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Medicines used to treat PAD may cause nausea, rash, and allergic reactions. Surgery may cause bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.
What happens after treatment for the disease?
If treatment is successful in opening the artery, the individual will have fewer symptoms. However, the problem can recur or develop in other arteries. It is important to work on lowering risk factors for atherosclerosis.
How is the disease monitored?
Persons with PAD often need regular visits with the healthcare provider. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the provider.