Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition whereby fatty deposits build in the inner linings of the artery walls. The blockages restrict blood circulation, primarily in the arteries leading to the kidneys, stomach, arms, legs and feet.

Diagnosing PAD may be done with:

  • An abnormal ratio between the blood pressure of the ankle and arm (ankle/brachial index, or ABI)
  • A Doppler ultrasound exam of an extremity
  • Angiography of the arteries in the legs (arteriography)
  • Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) of the extremity
  • An MRI scan

For many patients, PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes including smoking cessation, controlling diabetes and blood pressure, more physical activity, a low-cholesterol and a low-saturated fat diet. Some patients require medications to improve their ability to walk longer distances, antiplatelet agents or cholesterol-lowering agents. In some cases, angioplasty or surgery is necessary.