Aneurysms and blockages that affect the main arteries in any part of the body can be treated by endovascular surgeons. The exception is brain aneurysms; these are treated by neurosurgical techniques, some of which can be endovascular, but that are carried out in the neurosciences centre at The London Clinic.
Arterial disease can be treated by endovascular surgery
The endovascular surgery specialty at The London Clinic offers treatment for:
- Aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections
- Narrowing or blockages in the carotid arteries: these are the main arteries that pass through the neck before supplying blood to the brain. Problems here can cause a mini stroke (a transient ischaemic attack – TIA) or an acute stroke. Sometimes a clot from a carotid artery can break away and lodge in the retinal artery that supplies blood to the retina in the eye. This can cause sudden blindness in one eye, a phenomenon known as amaurosis fugax, or retinal artery occlusion. Scientific trials have shown open operations have an important place in treatment of narrowed carotid arteries but that endovascular techniques including carotid artery angioplasty with stenting are the preferred options in selected patients. The London Clinic offers leading expertise in both approaches.
- Aneurysms or blockages of the visceral arteries: these are the arteries that lead to organs in the abdomen, such as the arteries to the kidneys, liver and spleen or the vessels that supply blood to the intestines.
- Subclavian aneurysms: these occur in one of the subclavian arteries that branch away from the main aorta in the chest and run just below the collar bone. These arteries carry oxygenated blood into the arms. Subclavian aneurysms are relatively rare, accounting for only about 1 % of all aneurysms. Treatment has a high success rate and endovascular repair or open surgery is available at The London Clinic.
- Femoral aneurysms: these develop in one of the femoral arteries that carry blood into the legs.
- Popliteal aneurysms account for around 85 % of all peripheral artery aneurysms. These develop in the popliteal artery that runs behind the knee and takes blood into the lower leg. They cause blood clots to form that then lodge in the artery, causing severe pain due to the lack of oxygenated blood getting down the leg. Without repair, there is a high risk of gangrene and amputation.
Most common in men over 65, popliteal aneurysms can be repaired using endovascular surgery. The surgeon introduces a catheter into the femoral artery in the groin and this is used to put a stent inside the aneurysm.
- Occlusive peripheral artery disease: blockages in the arteries that lead to the legs can cause various conditions and symptoms including intermittent claudication.
This describes pain in the leg muscles that occurs when those muscles are used in walking or other activities. The more strenuous the activity, the worse the pain, but it stops completely when the leg is still. More severe blockages lead to ischaemic rest pain: pain in the leg muscles that occurs all the time, even at rest, due to the lack of oxygenated blood reaching the tissues.
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