What is it?

Peripheral Vascular Disease is caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries of the legs causing the veins to become narrow. This causes cramping in the calf or buttock muscles and can also affect the leg when walking.

If the narrowing becomes server patients will often have pain the in foot at night when lying down.  If this persists for a long period of time the blood vessels become blocked and ulceration and gangrene can occur in the lower leg and foot.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of peripheral vascular disease include:

  • Cramping in the calf and buttock muscles

  • Pain in the calf when walking

  • Pain in the foot at night

Diagnosis and treatment

The severity of the narrowing can be measured by blood pressure measurement in the leg, this is also known as ankle-brachial pressure indices (API). Ultrasound and CT scans may also be carried out to obtain more detailed images.

Both surgical and non-surgical treatments are available. Patients are normally started on lipid lowering drugs known as Statins, which have been shown to stabilise plaque. A low dose of aspirin may also be prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots forming.

Patients with severe disease will often require surgery. The majority of people will be suitable for a minimally invasive procedure known as an angioplasty. This involves opening up the affected blood vessel and placing in a stent.

Minimally invasive surgery is a pinhole surgery and the patient can usually go home the same day.