Peripheral vascular disease, or PVD, is a common condition among people over the age of 50 years old. This condition generally develops as the peripheral blood vessels in the body become obstructed in some way, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching tissue in the extremities.
Fortunately with the advent of progressive non-invasive procedures, diagnosing and treating PVD can be performed almost completely on an outpatient basis, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. Read on below to learn more about what treatment options are available to you.
What Are the Treatment Options for PVD?
When physicians even suspect PVD or PAD, thxey immediately refer patients to a vein specialist with expertise in peripheral vascular disease treatment. The first step is confirming the diagnosis.
Diagnosing PVD. Vein specialists have a number of options available to them to diagnose PVD quickly and effectively. These include:
- Techniques to monitor the patient’s pulse in the legs, feet and individual toes, such as use of assorted blood pressure cuffs, Doppler ultrasound, and pulse volume recording (PVR).
- Angiography, in which a guided catheter inserted in the iliac-femoral (groin) artery releases contrast dye, and X-ray confirms the blockage’s exact location.
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and computerized tomography angiography (CTA), both of which are noninvasive imaging technologies that can allow specialists to view blockages and blood flow.
Treating PVD. The primary goal is to open blood vessels at the site of the blockage and restore a normal blood flow to the affected area. PVD treatment techniques include:
- Interventional Radiology. Interventional radiologists have a number of options they can use to restore blood flow. All involve the use of a catheter that they guide to the blockage.
- In balloon angioplasty, radiologists can inflate a tiny balloon at the end of the catheter to open the blocked artery.
- In atherectomy, radiologists can use miniature tools at the end of a catheter to actually remove plaques that are blocking or restricting blood flow.
- By inserting a stent – a tiny mesh coil, or tube – inside the vein, radiologists can ensure the blood vessel will remain open. Balloon angioplasty is usually used to place the stent.
- Vascular Surgery. Sometimes extensive clotting, plaques or blockages require an actual arterial bypass. A vascular surgeon will remove the destroyed section of artery and replace it with either a graft taken from the patient’s own blood vessels or a synthetic vessel.
Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns About PVD
As the only certified interventional radiologists in the region, and one of only a handful in the state of Louisiana, Minimally Invasive Image Guided Specialists (MIIGS) has treated thousands of patients with critical, non-healing wounds, cramping or pain in the legs or feet, which are typical of PVD. Too often, patients put off seeking medical attention due to common fears.
Will insurance cover PVD treatments?
With insurance, the answer hinges on whether a treatment is a medical necessity or an optional cosmetic enhancement. If the procedure has a medical purpose, most insurance policies will cover it in accordance with the policy’s terms and conditions.
Do patients need a physician’s referral?
Approximately 90% of the patients MIIGS sees for PVD are physician referrals; however, patients do not need a physician referral to schedule an appointment. Note that some insurance policies require patients have a patient referral even for medical purposes.
Is general anesthesia necessary?
Our physicians can perform most procedures to correct PVD blockages in the comfort of our clinic on an outpatient basis. The procedures are minimally invasive, with less risk, little need for general anesthesia and quick recovery times.
Will amputation be necessary?
About 50% of the patients MIIGS treats are facing the possibility of amputation when they arrive for their first consultation. Our specialists are experienced in treating serious conditions, including gangrene, and are able to transform life-threatening circulatory problems into full recoveries for the vast majority of patients.
How soon can a patient schedule an appointment?
Because circulatory issues cannot wait, MIIGS can usually offer patients a same - or next-day appointment. MIIGS also offers state-of-the-art technological equipment, a streamlined scheduling system and – most important – expert physicians trained and board-certified in interventional radiology techniques and procedures.
If you or someone you know exhibits symptoms associated with PVD, contact MIIGS at 318.528.7560 or submit an online form today to schedule a consultation.