Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is defined as diseases of the blood vessels outside of the heart and brain. PAD is a term used interchangeably with Peripheral Vascular Disease, or PVD, and typically involves the narrowing of vessels that transports blood to the arms and legs.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this disease is the fact that it often carries no symptoms. At least half of people who suffer from it have no signs or indications. Unfortunately, up to 60% of an artery can be blocked by the time the condition is discovered.
Eight to 12 million people in the US suffer from PAD, and are at increased risk for heart disease, aortic aneurysms, and stroke. Additionally, PAD can be a precursor to diabetes, hypertension, and various other conditions.
PAD is usually accompanied by atherosclerosis, a process in which plaques, hard cholesterol material, and fatty substances collect along the interior walls of the arteries. As the material hardens, it ultimately causes the arteries to narrow, which can cause diseases in other organs throughout the body.
Atherosclerosis is a systemic disease; in other words—it affects the entire body. Therefore, it’s common for people with PAD to have blocked arteries in other areas of the body. Those who suffer from PAD are at increased risk of heart disease, aortic aneurysms, and stroke.
At Emory, medical, surgical and catheter-based treatment of PAD is a combined effort from the Emory Heart & Vascular Center, the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, and Interventional Radiology.
In our next series of blog posts, we’ll examine other aspects of PAD, including symptoms, prime candidates for treatment, treatment options, and patient stories.
Do you have questions regarding Peripheral Artery Disease? If so, please let us know in the comments section—we’re happy to address them.
About Khusrow Niazi, MD:
Dr. Niazi specializes in interventional cardiology, carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease and venous disease of the legs. He has been practicing at Emory since 2003. He has been involved in many trials in treating blockages in the carotid arteries and leg arteries with less invasive options. Dr. Niazi is involved in trials focused on the removal of plaque from the leg arteries with less invasive methods.
About Karthik Kasirajan, MD:
Dr. Kasirajan specializes in surgery and vascular surgery, and has been practicing at Emory since 2003. Several of his areas of interest include peripheral arterial disease, endovascular surgery, abdominal and aortic aneurysm, vascular surgery, thrombotic disease, and stroke. Dr. Kasirajan holds many organizational leadership memberships, including the European Society for Vascular Surgery, International College of Surgeons, and the Peripheral Vascular Surgical Society, and is widely published in publications such as the Journal of Endovascular Therapy and the Journal of Vascular Surgery.