Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment

Peripheral artery disease (PAD, peripheral vascular disease) is a medical condition caused by blockages in the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the body’s limbs. The most common cause of this problem is atherosclerosis, cholesterol build-up in the blood vessels.

What Is Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment?

Peripheral artery disease treatment depends on the cause and severity of a patient’s condition. If medications and lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient for treating the disease, vascular specialists may perform angioplasty, stent placement, or a peripheral artery bypass operation.

Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Treatment for PAD – ranging from lifestyle changes to surgery – varies according to age, overall health, medical history, extent of the disease, and a patient’s feelings about different medications and therapies. Medical treatments include:

  • Statins and other medications to lower LDL cholesterol and/or triglycerides.
  • Antiplatelet medications and anticoagulants to reduce clotting.
  • Vasodilators to relax the muscle in the heart and vessel walls, causing the blood pressure to fall.
  • Beta-blockers to make the heart beat slower and with less force by reducing nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels.
  • ACE inhibitors to prevent the production of angiotensin II, a hormone that causes blood vessels to narrow.

Learn more about blood pressure medication.

Interventional and surgical procedures to reduce the effects of peripheral artery disease include:

  • Balloon angioplasty – A long, thin tube (catheter) is guided to the blocked section of an artery and then a small balloon is inflated to improve blood flow. The physician may also insert a metal tube (stent) to help maintain this widened opening.
  • Atherectomy – The blocked area inside the artery is shaved away by a tiny device on the end of a catheter.
  • Vascular surgery – A piece of a vein, or a tube made from synthetic material, is grafted above and below the blocked area of an artery, enabling blood to flow around the obstruction.

Cardiovascular Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at BWH is one of the most advanced centers of its kind in the New England region. Bringing together the full range of cardiovascular services in one building, the Center provides the technology and infrastructure to enable seamless and coordinated care for all cardiovascular patients.

Patient- and Family-focused Care

BWH has long been committed to not only the care of our patients, but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care – involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – is a guiding force behind the care we provide at the Center.

Quality of Patient Care

BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and where we could improve. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we compare with other hospitals.

Brigham and Women’s Interventional Cardiology Team

The Interventional Cardiology team is committed to patients and their families. Each patient's diagnosis and treatment plan will be designed and tailored to their needs. Our team of highly skilled doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals work together to deliver the highest quality care to every patient.

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our peripheral artery disease experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs, or fill out an online appointment request form.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH