Posts Tagged ‘peripheral vascular disease’

Understanding Peripheral Vascular Disease

PVDDo you experience painful muscle cramps in your hips, thighs or calves when moving around? You may be surprised to learn that this is the primary symptom of peripheral vascular disease (PVD). PVD is defined as diseases of the arteries outside of the heart and brain. PVD is a term used interchangeably with peripheral artery disease, or PAD, but PVD encompasses diseases of the arteries AND veins.

Arteries move blood away from the heart, and PAD typically involves the narrowing of the arteries that transport blood to the arms and legs. Veins take the blood back to the heart and generally don’t get narrowed with cholesterol, but rather develop another very common condition called chronic venous insufficiency (varicose veins).

PAD – Arteries

Many patients go undiagnosed because the symptoms can be attributed to something else, such as arthritis, a neuropathy or normal stiffness that occurs with aging. Patients with PAD may also experience numbness, weakness or coldness in one or both legs. Often the symptoms come on slowly and the patient starts altering their life style and become more sedentary.

On the other hand, at least half of people who suffer from PAD have no signs or indications at all. Risk factors for PAD include aging, personal or family history, cardiovascular disease or stroke. Controllable risk factors include:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Physical inactivity
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure Renal failure

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

This is more common than PAD and may start at an early age. The symptoms of this may include any one or more of the following: legs feeling heavy or tired especially at the end of the day, mild swelling of ankles, severe cramps at night time, restless legs, itching of legs, or formation of visible veins on the leg. In severe cases the skin around the ankle area may get darker in color and sores may form, generally above the ankle, which are slow to heal.

Some of the risk factors include age, family history of varicose veins, obesity, standing for long periods on hard surfaces and history of blood clots or phlebitis in the leg.

If you have any of the above symptoms or would like to discuss your risk factors, talk to your healthcare provider. PVD diagnosis begins with a physical examination.

At Emory, treatment of PVD is a combined effort within the Emory Heart & Vascular Center, the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy and Interventional Radiology. To make an appointment, call 404-778-7777.

About Khusrow Niazi, MD

Khusrow Niazi, MDDr. 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. He also has treated many patients with chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

New PAD Resources: 7 Peripheral Artery Disease Ask the Expert Videos & Live MD Chat

Peripheral Artery Disease ResourcesAs we have discussed in previous posts on PAD, millions of people in the United States suffer from this life, and potentially limb threatening, disease. What is unfortunate is that many people don’t know they have it.  In our Peripheral Artery Disease “Ask the Expert” video series we answer many questions about PAD including:

  • What is PAD?
  • What are common symptoms of PAD?
  • How do you test for PAD?
  • When should someone be tested for PAD?
  • What are the treatment options for PAD?
  • What physicians are involved in treating PAD?
  • What kind of research is being done at Emory for PAD?

If watching the PAD videos sparks questions, join my colleague Dr. Khushrow Niazi on Monday, April 25 from 12:30p.m. – 1 :15p.m. for an interactive, online Q&A web chat on the topic of PAD. He will answer questions and discuss various topics about PAD including prevention, detection, symptoms, testing, treatment options and innovative new research.

If you think you may have PAD after viewing the videos, please call Emory HealthConnection℠ 404-778-7777 to schedule an appointment.

Do you have questions about PAD in general? If so, please let me know in the comments section.

About Ravi Veeraswamy, MD:

Dr. Veeraswamy specializes in surgery and vascular surgery, and has been practicing with Emory since 2006. Some of his areas of clinical interest include aortic aneurysm, carotid endarterectomy, peripheral arterial and vascular disease, and vascular surgery. Recently, Dr. Veeraswamy has published articles in the Washington University Manual of Surgery, Vascular and Endovascular Challenges, and the Annals of Vascular Surgery.

Join Me for a Peripheral Artery Disease Online Chat

Peripheral Artery Disease Online Doctor ChatPeripheral Artery Disease (PAD), defined as diseases of the blood vessels outside the heart or brain, affects eight to 12 million people in the United States. PAD happens when there is a narrowing of the blood vessels outside of your heart. The cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, and occurs when plaque, a substance made up of fat and cholesterol, builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs. Unfortunately, individuals with PAD are at an increased risk for heart disease, aortic aneurysms and stroke.

Additionally, PAD can be a precursor to diabetes, hypertension and various other medical conditions. If you get treatment early and take preventative steps, PAD can be managed effectively and does not  have to take over your life. Should you receive a diagnosis of PAD, you can often stop or reverse the buildup of plaque in the arteries with dietary changes, exercise and efforts to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. You can take control by leading a heart-healthy lifestyle and most cases of PAD can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.

Join me on Monday, April 25 from 12:30 – 1:15pm for an interactive online Q&A web chat on the topic of PAD. I will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about PAD including prevention, detection, symptoms, testing, treatment options and innovative new research.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you may register online for the live chat now. Spread the word about our education session to your friends who may suffer from this potentially debilitating disease.

About Dr. Khusrow Niazi

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

 

Minimally Invasive Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease: Dave Kirschner’s Story

In 2008, Dave Kirschner chose to retire from a successful 50-year career in the radio business. For years, CNN Radio listeners listened to him as he brought them up to speed on current events. Now, Kirschner spends his time working around the house, staying in touch with industry friends, and working out on the treadmill several times a week. However, when he began to notice a recurring pain shooting down the back of his right leg during exercise, he was concerned.

At first, Kirschner thought that he might have a pulled muscle, so he attempted to ease the pain with stretching, massage, and over-the-counter remedies. When nothing worked, he realized that he may have a deeper problem, and he called his internal medicine doctor.

His doctor conducted a test called an Ankle Brachial Pressure Index, or ABI—which revealed that Kirschner was suffering from peripheral artery disease (PAD).  As we’ve described in previous blog posts, PAD develops when arteries become clogged with plaque and fatty deposits that limit the flow of blood to extremities, especially the legs.

The major symptom that Kirschner was experiencing is called intermittent claudication—a pain that occurs during periods of exercise, such as walking or climbing the stairs. When we exercise our muscles require more blood flow—if there is blockage in the blood vessels, the muscles don’t receive enough blood, which causes intermittent claudication.

The first Atlanta cardiology group that Kirschner visited recommended that he have a stent inserted into his leg to unblock the artery. However, this option wasn’t appealing to him—he’d had cardiac bypass surgery in the past and wanted to avoid invasive surgery if at all possible.

Kirschner proceeded to search for other alternatives for PAD treatment—he researched the Internet and asked several of his trusted friends for advice. He even considered traveling out-of-state to find a facility that would offer what he was looking for. Finally, he spoke with a podiatrist friend, who recommended that he contact me at Emory.

After examining Mr. Kirschner, we reviewed his options and decided that a minimally invasive outpatient procedure would be the best way to treat his condition. We used a recently developed device to shave away the plaque in his arteries—the device deploys a tiny rotating blade on the tip of a catheter to remove plaque from the arterial wall. This procedure has been extremely successful in helping patients to prevent blood flow problems that could potentially result in something as serious as amputation.

The device doesn’t stretch the blood vessel wall, unlike the use of stents. It is used to treat calcified and non-calcified lesions of any length. Further, it is minimally invasive and doesn’t require that we open up the leg.

Kirschner’s procedure took less than two hours. When he asked me how long I thought it would be before he could go back to working out, he was shocked when I replied, “How about tomorrow?” He left our office the same day that he went in, with only a tiny incision at the top of his leg, covered by a band-aid.

Today, Kirschner can hit the gym and exercise with no pain. His workout regimen consists of hour-long walks, which he enjoys without any problems. We’re thrilled that we were able to treat his condition with our innovative technology, and we look forward to achieving the same results with future patients suffering from PAD.

About Gregory Robertson, MD:

Dr. Robertson specializes in Cardiology and Internal Medicine, and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory. Some of his areas of clinical interest include atherosclerosis, cardiac catheterization, cardiovascular disease, valve disease, and peripheral artery disease. Dr. Robertson holds an organizational leadership membership at The American College of Cardiology, and has contributed to multiple publications in his field.

Examining Peripheral Artery Disease

Khusrow Niazi, M.D.

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.

Karthik Kasirajan, M.D.

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.