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Peripheral Vascular Disease

more about Peripheral Vascular Disease


Hardening of the arteries or Claudication


  • If there is an insufficient blood supply to the lower extremities (legs and feet) due to blockages or narrowing of blood vessels, it is known as Peripheral Vascular Disease.  The first symptom is usually pain (or aching fatigue) that occurs with exertion (walking or exercise).  The medical term for this discomfort on exertion is called Claudication.  The most common cause of Peripheral Vascular Disease is narrowing due to cholesterol build up in the walls of the arteries leading to the legs and/or feet.

  • Pain or aching in the legs (especially calves) or feet when walking
  • As the disease worsens, the arteries narrow, and pain (in the feet) at night may occur


  • Examination:
    1. Decreases pulses in the feet or behind the knee
    2. Redness to feet and legs
    3. Hair loss in the feet and legs
    4. The skin in the affected areas is cool
  • Imaging:
    1. X-rays may show calcified blood vessels
    2. Doppler/ultrasound of the arterial blood vessels to assess the blood flow
    3. Arteriography -- a dye is injected and x-rays are taken of the blood vessels

  • Medications
    1. Low dose aspirin (80-325 mg/day)
    2. Trental (Pentoxifylline) or Pletal
  • Angioplasty -- a balloon is inflated to open up the narrowed blood vessels
  • Surgical bypass -- the area of blockage or narrowing is bypassed




more about Peripheral Vascular Disease


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