What Treatments Are Available for Peripheral Vascular Disease?
According to the American Heart Association, more than 8.5 million Americans and more than 200 million individuals around the world suffer from some form of peripheral vascular disease.
In this guide, the Encino Vascular Institute provides a brief overview of the most common treatment options to manage peripheral vascular disease based on years of experience as a top vascular surgeon in Encino, CA.
Caused by a narrowing of the peripheral arteries (those outside of the heart and brain), peripheral vascular disease (PVD) restricts the circulation of life-sustaining blood to limbs and organs, causing a myriad of complications.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with or suspect they have PVD, you likely have questions about what types of treatments are available for PVD.
Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatments
How Do You Treat PVD?
When it comes to the treatment of PVD, the two primary objectives are:
- Prevent or reduce progression; and
- Manage symptoms and pain associated with PVD to improve quality of life
Additional goals of treatment often include:
- Reducing intermittent claudication
- Improving tolerance to exercise and physical activity
- Prevention of critical artery occlusions that can lead to ulcers, gangrene and amputation
- Prevention of strokes and heart attacks
Types of Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatments
As the first line of treatment, lifestyle changes are typically recommended. Even in conjunction with other treatments and therapies, certain changes to your lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on symptoms and overall wellness.
Suggested Changes Usually Include:
- Participating in a regular exercise program
- Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet
- Losing weight
- Smoking cessation
- Reducing stress
- Getting enough sleep
In cases where lifestyle changes are unable to achieve desirable results, medications may be prescribed to address several potential underlying complications and symptoms.
Medications for PVD May Include:
- Pentoxifylline or cilostazol to improve blood flow and reduce symptoms associated with claudication
- Daily aspirin or clopidogrel to reduce the risk of blood clots
- Statins to lower cholesterol
- ACE inhibitors to lower blood pressure
- Diabetes medication (for those with diabetes)
Serious cases or those where PVD has progressed significantly may require surgery to eliminate blockages that have formed in arteries. Modern medicine and surgical technology make it possible to treat PVD with minimally invasive procedures.
Often advised when a patient’s level of claudication reduces their quality of life, limiting their ability to participate in daily activities without symptoms, or when disease progression is considered moderate to severe.
With angioplasty, a small catheter is inserted into an artery in the arm or groin, and gently advanced to the point at which the artery has become narrowed or blocked. A small balloon at the tip of the catheter is then dilated to enlarge the narrowed artery, allowing improved circulation and unhindered blood flow. In some cases, a stent (a small mesh tube) may be inserted in the widened artery to prevent it from narrowing again.
What makes angioplasties a favored treatment option is it’s relatively minimal invasive nature as well as there being no need for general anesthesia. Major complications are rare and patients can generally return to work and normal activities within a couple of days.
An atherectomy may be advisable when the goal is to safely remove plaque built up in an artery. Similar to an angioplasty, a small catheter is inserted into the blocked or narrowed artery where a sharp precision blade is used to cut, scrape, collect and remove plaque from the blood vessel.
In the event of a complete or total blockage, bypass surgery may be recommended. During bypass surgery, a vein is harvested from another area of your body and then used to ‘bypass’ and re-route blood flow around the blocked artery.
Have More Questions About Treatment for Peripheral Vascular Disease?
Looking for a vascular surgeon in Encino, CA? Reach out to our team at the Encino Vascular Institute by calling (818) 908-9752 or visiting 16311 Ventura Blvd Suite 1080p, Encino, CA 91436. We take a team approach to ensuring each patient receives outstanding care, compassionate service and reliable treatments that help improve quality of life after and during surgery recovery.