PERIPHERAL VASCULAR DISEASE (PVD)
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a general term for disease of any blood vessel that is not part of the heart or brain. The arterial form, usually referred to as PAD (peripheral arterial disease), is caused by deposits of fatty material (atheroma) in arteries of the legs. Since arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to the cells of the body, restriction of this blood flow can cause bodily organs or extremities to fail.
The carotid artery is the vessel in your neck that supplies the brain with blood. The lining of the artery wall is also normally smooth. Health factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes can damage artery walls and make them uneven. Cholesterol and other blood products can then collect on the wall which make it narrow. If it gets very narrow it can cause a stroke.
DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT)
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein in the arm or leg. When the blood clot is in a deep vein, parts of it can break off and travel to the lung (pulmonary embolism) which can be life-threatening. DVT’s can form from inactivity after surgery or when one is ill. They can also form from a traumatic incident, from a genetic abnormality in your blood or if you have cancer.
We treat these with blood thinning medications for approximately 3-6 months depending on the location and reason that the clot developed. Sometimes people need to stay on the medications for the rest of their life.
An IVC Filter is sometimes placed. This is a metal trap that stops blood clots from the legs travel to the lungs. These can be left in place for a short or long term. A filter is generally recommended in cases when the patient can not take blood thinning medication or if a clot traveled to the lungs while they were taking blood thinning medication.
Varicose veins are dilated veins in the legs that can get worse over time. They are typically caused by venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when the tiny valves inside the vein stop working and become leaky. When the valves don’t work well the blood refluxes back down the leg and causes the dilated vein. This is not dangerous but sometimes they caused the legs to ache or swell. They also can make your legs feel heavy and tired. Most people notice this more so at the end of a long day.
ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM
An aortic aneurysm is a weak, bulging area in the wall of the aorta. The bulging develops from a weakness or defect in the aortic wall. It tends to get bigger with time. The aorta is the body’s largest artery. It carries blood from the heart and delivers it to the rest of the body. The aorta travels through the chest (thoracic aorta) and the abdomen (abdominal aorta).