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Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)



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Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to your legs. These peripheral arteries can become blocked with fatty material that builds up inside them. This is called atherosclerosis.

A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that expands inside an artery.

Angioplasty and stent placement are two ways to open blocked peripheral arteries.

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There are many causes of peripheral vascular disease. One major risk factor is smoking cigarettes. Other diseases predispose patients to develop peripheral vascular disease. These include diabetes, Buerger's disease, hypertension, and Raynaud's disease. The main symptom is pain in the affected area. Early symptoms include an achy, tired sensation in the affected muscles. Since this disease is seen mainly in the legs, these sensations usually occur when walking. The symptoms may disappear when resting. As the disease becomes worse, symptoms occur even during light exertion and, eventually, occur all the time, even at rest. In the severe stages of the disease the leg and foot may be cold to the touch and will feel numb. The skin may become dry and scaly. If the leg is even slightly injured, ulcers may form because, without a good blood supply, proper healing can not take place. At the most severe stage of the disease, when the blood flow is greatly restricted, gangrene can develop in those areas lacking blood supply. In some cases, peripheral vascular disease occurs suddenly. This happens when an embolism rapidly blocks blood flow to a blood vessel. The patient will experience a sharp pain. followed by a loss of sensation in the affected area. The limb will become cold and numb, and loose color or turn bluish.


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