Combining attentive, compassionate care with our extensive clinical and research resources, UT Southwestern's cardiology experts and vascular specialists deliver individualized care within pre-eminent health care facilities.
Peripheral Artery Disease
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s experienced interventional radiologists and vascular specialists work to provide early diagnosis of peripheral artery disease (PAD). For patients who require treatment, we take a multidisciplinary approach to offer the latest techniques to help ease symptoms.
About Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a circulation disorder in which the legs, feet, and other parts of the body do not receive enough blood flow. Although many individuals with PAD do not have symptoms, others experience painful cramping that impacts their quality of life.
PAD is often characterized by a narrowing of the vessels that carry blood to the leg and arm muscles. It's also called peripheral vascular disease.
With the help of a UT Southwestern vascular surgeon, the accumulation of plaque in blood vessels can be removed, stented, or bypassed, allowing patients with PAD to achieve a renewed state of health.
Our vascular surgeons are specialists in treating all forms of PAD.
Early Intervention for PAD
Approximately half the individuals diagnosed with PAD are symptom-free. For those experiencing symptoms, the most common symptom is leg discomfort described as painful cramping that occurs with exercise and is relieved by rest. The pain disappears during rest because the muscles need less blood flow. Pain can occur in one or both legs, depending on the location of the clogged or narrowed artery.
Early diagnosis can help patients make the lifestyle changes to help with PAD symptoms. Early diagnosis also helps patients avoid serious complications of PAD, which can include:
- Heart attack
- Loss of mobility
We diagnose PAD by carefully evaluating an individual’s medical history and using advanced imaging techniques for assessment. These include:
- Angiography, including computed tomography (CT) angiography
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Once PAD is diagnosed, we will recommend medication and lifestyle changes to help the patient minimize risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
If medication or lifestyle changes are not sufficient to control PAD, a specialist will recommend an angioplasty treatment or surgical procedure.
By assessing the amount of plaque buildup that could be occurring in a patient’s blood vessels, our surgeons can determine whether he or she is a good candidate for a stent or a balloon angioplasty. These procedures are performed through the skin (percutaneously) and do not require an incision.
Depending on the patient’s specific condition, sometimes a bypass of the blockage is necessary. Our surgeons are experts at both minimally invasive procedures and open surgical techniques for all categories of PAD, including:
- Claudication (pain with walking)
- Rest pain (pain at rest)
- Gangrene or ulceration (critical limb ischemia)