Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial DiseasePeripheral arterial disease (PAD) is common, affecting between 10-15% of the general population. The diagnosis refers to the abnormal development of narrowed/occluded arteries with consequent poor distal circulation. Risk factors for PAD include smoking, advancing age, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

CT Angiogram demonstrating PAD. Arrow indicates blocked artery behind right knee (Popliteal Artery)

The classical symptom of PAD is claudication, an exercise-induced pain that is predictably alleviated by rest in at least one of the lower limb muscle groups (calf, thigh, buttock). More advanced PAD may be indicated by leg ulceration or lower limb/foot pain/numbness at rest or during the night. In the vast majority of patients, there are no symptoms at all. Further investigation of significant PAD usually requires more detailed medical imaging (e.g. duplex ultrasound, CT or MR scanning) in order to plan subsequent management.

Treatment of PAD is stratified depending on the individual’s lifestyle limitation, disease severity and the presence of other medical problems. All patients should be advised regarding their lifestyle, risk factor modification and medical therapy. If clinically appropriate, more invasive options may be offered that involve an endovascular and/or surgical approach.

PAD Treatment Options Treatment Options link