How is peripheral vascular disease (PVD) treated?

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Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is first treated by prevention. Watch Gabriel Bietz, MD, with Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, talk about different ways of controlling PVD.
Justin P. Levisay, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There are multiple treatments. If the peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is in the legs, depending on the severity I will generally attempt a trial with medications to relieve the symptoms. If it is severe disease or medical therapy fails to improve symptoms, remaining options include minimally invasive procedures involving balloons and sometimes stents or a surgical bypass using a vein or artificial graft. With regards to PVD in the kidneys it is treated almost exclusively with balloons and stents. Disease of the carotid artery can be treated surgically or with a balloon/stent.
If tests show that you have peripheral vascular disease (PVD), your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatments for vascular disease include:
  • Lifestyle changes. You can control many of the factors that cause PVD. 
  • Medication. You might receive medication to help control your cholesterol or blood pressure, help your body remove extra fluid, keep your blood from clotting easily, or help clear your arteries.
  • Compression stockings. Special stockings, sometimes called T.E.D. hose, squeeze your lower legs to help keep the blood flowing.
  • Catheter-based treatments. A catheter (a thin, flexible tube) may be inserted through your skin into a major blood vessel and threaded to the area that needs treatment. The catheter can carry an empty balloon that is then inflated to compress the plaque and open up the artery. A stent, a wire mesh support, can also be inserted to help prop an artery open.
  • Surgery. Surgery might be used to remove faulty veins, repair vein valves, bypass a section of blocked artery, or clean out plaque buildup.
Treatment for peripheral vascular disease (PVD) depends on many factors, including the location of the blockage, the extent of the blockage, your age and your other medical risk factors. Blockages may be treated with minimally invasive techniques such as angioplasty and stenting.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.