Closeup of man's legs in beige pants walking upstairs. Hand held on one knee.

Peripheral Vascular/Arterial Disease (PVD/PAD)

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), also called peripheral vascular disease (PVD), is a progressive circulatory disorder. PVD refers to the hardening of the arteries and is known as atherosclerosis, when plaque builds in an artery, diminishing blood flow over time and leading to tissue or organ damage. Patients with PAD often experience leg pain that occurs with walking causing, numbness and tingling in the feet, trouble walking, foot pain that wakes you at night, and sores that won’t heal. Certain factors put you at greater risk for PVD. 
 

Risk factors for PAD include:
  • Age (over 50) 
  • ​Obesity
  • High blood pressure and/or cholesterol
  • Family history 
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • History of stroke 
  • Lack of exercise
  • ​Poor diet
 
patients with pvd may experience the following symptoms:
  • Muscle pain when walking
  • Legs felling numb or heavy
  • Leg cramping
  • Weak pulses in the legs or feet
  • Wounds that don't heal 
A sudden cold, painful, pale limb with weak or no pulses is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical attention.  

 

Learn more

 Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatments and more (patient resources/videos from the Society for Vascular Surgery)

 Know When to Contact Your Doctor About Leg Pain. It is natural to experience growing aches and pains with age—but if you have persistent pain in your legs for no obvious reason, it is important to take it more seriously and notify your physician. 

diagnosis, treatment and technologies

There are a number of treatment options available, many of which can be conducted in an outpatient setting. CMC’s team of highly-trained physicians, technicians, and support staff can assess the best treatment options for you.

lifestyle adjustments and medications

If you’re diagnosed with PAD, your provider will likely recommend a healthier lifestyle to help keep the disease from progressing. This may include losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising. Medications are also available to help reduce symptoms and improve blood flow in the legs and medications that relax vessel walls. 

Interventional and surgical treatments

Several procedures can help improve blood flow in patients with PAD, including angioplasty and stenting. Angioplasty involves a balloon inserted into the artery through a small tube called a catheter which the doctor inflates to clear the blockage. A stent is small a mesh tube that stays in the artery and helps keep it open. Certain cases may be suitable for an atherectomy, which uses laser technology to dissolve the plaque that’s blocking the artery. In some situations, vascular surgery may be appropriate to help restore blood flow.

Failure to treat PVD may result in a loss of limb (amputation), poor wound healing, decreased mobility, pain or stroke. 

Dr Patricia Furey

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

PAD, or peripheral arterial disease, is a form of vascular disease which affects the arteries outside the heart. Its symptoms—if there are any at all—vary widely and are similar to the symptoms for many other conditions, making PAD a stealthy disease. Learn more from Patricia Furey, MD, FACS, vascular surgeon at the New England Heart & Vascular Institute at CMC as she responds to the following frequently asked questions.

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