Peripheral artery disease also referred to as peripheral arterial disease or PAD, is a narrowing of the blood vessels outside the heart and brain.
It's a fairly common vascular problem, affecting about 8 million people in the United States.
At the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, surgeons in the Division of Vascular Surgery treat PAD and a full range of other vascular-related diseases and conditions.
Peripheral artery disease — also called peripheral arterial disease or PAD — is usually caused by a gradual build-up of plaque within the arteries (atherosclerosis).
As the arteries become narrowed, it reduces essential blood flow to the limbs and organs — most commonly the:
Peripheral artery or arterial disease (PAD) can develop over a lifetime with varying symptoms.
Early PAD symptoms include:
The most severe forms of PAD can cause:
In most cases, your doctor at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute can diagnose PAD through a physical exam but can't always measure its severity, especially if you have another condition such as diabetes.
To measure the severity of PAD, your doctor will order noninvasive tests such as:
In some cases, to confirm a PAD diagnosis, you may need additional tests like:
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to expect your test results and will call you when they're available.
At the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, our vascular surgeons offer a full range of treatments for peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Based on the severity of your condition, we will work with you to determine which treatment option is right for you.
UPMC's vascular surgeons have participated in several large research studies of stenting and in even more cutting-edge research to treat PAD, including: