Peripheral angioplasty is a procedure to re-open blood vessels to allow oxygen-rich blood to flow smoothly through the vessel. This is an attractive alternative to open surgical bypass because it offers a smaller incision, faster healing times, and a reduced risk of complications.
During peripheral angioplasty, a physician threads a catheter with a balloon on the end through a small nick in your groin or wrist (radial access) and gently guides the catheter to the site of the blockage. Once the catheter is in place, the balloon is then inflated and deflated repeatedly, which flattens the plaque and restores normal blood flow through your artery. In many cases, once the blood vessel has been widened, the physician inserts a stent. A stent is a tiny mesh-like wire tube that acts as scaffolding to hold the artery open.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) affects about 8 million Americans. Approximately 12 to 20 percent of patients diagnosed with PAD are 60 years or older.* Left untreated, PAD can lead to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart disease, heart failure, or amputation. Many people with PAD often do not experience any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they include pain or discomfort in your calves or thighs when walking, which often stops when you stop walking. This is called claudication or intermittent claudication. You may even experience pain in the arches of your feet or in your toes when you are lying down.
The primary goal of treating PAD is to reopen the artery to allow blood to flow. The vascular specialists on the medical staff of Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating PAD. Surgery is one effective treatment approach; however, the vascular specialists on the medical staff of The Heart Hospital prefer to take a minimally invasive approach first. Peripheral Angioplasty is one such newer minimally invasive approach to treating people with PAD.
*CDC, July 2013
Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Health Care System's subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano or Baylor Health Care System.