Peripheral vascular disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease is a condition in which fatty deposits build-up in the arteries and restrict blood supply to the legs. This can lead to painful cramping while walking, and significantly increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. In the worst cases the limb will be risk because of ulcers, pain and gangrene.

What does this involve?

The main way to reduce symptoms of peripheral vascular disease is by making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating healthier and getting more exercise. However, there are some surgical options which can be pursued.

Angioplasty

A small hollow tube is inserted into one of the arteries in your groin, which has a balloon at its tip. The tube is guided to the blockage and inflated, which widens the vessel and allows blood to flow. The procedure is usually performed under local anaesthetic.

Endarterectomy

This involves clearing the inside of the artery of the fatty deposits to allow better flow through the artery.

Bypass graft

A small healthy vein in your leg is removed and grafted on to the blocked vein, allowing the blood supply to be re-routed around the blockage. The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic.

When will I recover?

Angioplasty usually involves an overnight stay, endarterectomy two to three days, while bypass surgery requires patients to stay for five to seven nights in hospital under observation. Once at home, patients will be independent but will need up to six weeks for full recovery.

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