Frequently Asked Questions

How common are non-cardiac vascular conditions?

Although gaining less media attention, disorders of the peripheral arteries are nearly as prevalent as those that effect the heart, affecting some 10 million Americans per year.


Who is subject to diseases of the peripheral arteries?

Diseases of the vascular arteries are particularly seen in those who smoke or in whom blood pressure is poorly controlled. Incomplete management of elevated cholesterol can also contribute.


What conditions are considered to be peripheral artery disorders?

Peripheral artery conditions classically are thought to be disorders that are created by arteriosclerotic blockages in the arteries to the lower extremities. Less appreciated conditions including dilatation and possible rupture of the aorta, stenoses in kidney (renal) arteries, and the development of obstructions in the carotid arteries leading to the head and brain.


How does a doctor assess peripheral artery conditions?

As with other vascular conditions, physicians review patients symptoms, and then proceed with certain tests. Commonly, an office based ultrasound identifies blockage location and severity. Should a level of concern be reached, one may be advised to undergo an angiogram in the hospital, possible resulting in stent placement or surgery.


Is surgery necessarily required?

Interestingly, occlusions of the vessels to the lower extremities may be best managed with conservative therapy including a well-defined walking program. As with other vascular conditions, management of blood pressure and cholesterol issues is mandatory.