How is peripheral artery disease treated?
Treatment for PAD depends on how severe the disease is. So, it can be a great advantage to find PAD early. The solution is often simple. For example, your doctor may recommend exercise or medications. Exercise can cause new, tiny blood vessels to grow and bring oxygen to problem areas. Your doctor can prescribe medicines to reduce pain or prevent blood clots. Also, medicines may be needed to control diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol because these conditions, if not treated, can increase the risk for PAD.
Your doctor may decide it is necessary to treat the blocked arteries. One or more of these procedures could be used to help blood flow freely again through the affected arteries:
- Angioplasty — a catheter with a balloon is passed through the blocked artery. Once inflated, the balloon compresses the plaque against the wall of the artery.
- Stent implantation — during angioplasty, a tiny metal mesh tube called a stent may be placed in the artery to help hold it open.
- Atherectomy — a special catheter is used to gently shave and remove plaque from the arteries.
- Endarterectomy — a special catheter is used to open blocked blood vessels by removing plaque buildup from inside the artery wall.
- Bypass surgery — a healthy blood vessel taken from another part of the body, or a small special plastic tube, is used to create a detour to allow blood to flow around a blocked artery.