Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a chronic and progressive condition that occurs when the arteries that carry blood to the legs and feet become narrowed or blocked, resulting in reduced blood flow. PAD is often caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries, which can lead to inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels. Over time, the affected arteries become hardened and lose their elasticity, further reducing blood flow to the affected areas. Symptoms may include (but are not limited to):
  • Painful cramping in hips, thighs, or calf muscles
  • Leg weakness or numbness
  • Sores on your toes, feet, or legs that won’t heal
  • Coldness in lower leg or foot, especially in contrast with other leg
  • Color change in your legs
  • Shiny skin on your legs
  • No pulse or a faint pulse in your legs or feet

Diagnosing PAD
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) can have serious consequences, including the risk of losing toes or even a foot. Therefore, it's important to be aware of symptoms and seek medical attention if they occur. Diagnosis of PAD begins with a medical history and physical examination, including the ankle-brachial index (ABI) test, which compares blood pressure in the legs to that in the arms. If the ABI is abnormal, further testing may be needed, such as arterial duplex ultrasound, computed tomographic angiography (CTA), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), or angiogram. An angiogram is a minimally invasive procedure that involves imaging of an artery with a small amount of contrast dye and/or carbon dioxide, which can be both diagnostic and therapeutic. Vascular interventional radiologists can use angiogram imaging to assess potential obstructions and perform treatments such as angioplasty, atherectomy, and/or stent placement. Seeking prompt medical attention and following a personalized treatment plan can help manage symptoms and improve outcomes for those with PAD.