Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a blockage or narrowing (stenosis) of arteries that supply blood flow to the legs. This is often due to a buildup of fatty plaque inside the arteries. There are many causes of PAD, but the two most common risk factors are diabetes and a history of smoking cigarettes. PAD, once known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), comes in many forms with a wide range of symptoms, ranging from pain with walking (claudication) to ulceration and gangrene.
Treatment of PAD includes making lifestyle changes, taking medications or having minimally invasive and/or open surgical procedures. Revascularization (vascular bypass surgery) may be necessary to treat lifestyle-limiting symptoms or to decrease the risk of amputation.
Peripheral Arterial Disease: Why Choose Johns Hopkins
- Johns Hopkins experts provide the entire range of treatments for PAD, including medical management, vascular surgery, minimally invasive/endovascular therapy and hybrid therapies. Surgery is not always indicated for PAD.
- Our experts are focused on providing you with the appropriate treatment(s) that meet your needs at the appropriate times.
- The hybrid therapies available at Johns Hopkins are not typically available at smaller medical centers.
- Our multidisciplinary team will work with you and your family from evaluation to treatment, and provide follow-up care.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Q&A
Vascular surgeon Margaret Arnold discusses evaluating, diagnosing and treating PAD; risk factors for PAD; and how to prevent the disease.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatments
Treatments for PAD may include one or a combination of the options below:
- Lifestyle changes: This involves regular exercise, proper nutrition and quitting smoking.
- Medical management: Doctors treat diabetes, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol with medication; it may also include medications to improve blood flow and relax the blood vessel walls.
- Vascular surgery/lower extremity bypass: A bypass graft using a blood vessel from another part of the body or a tube made of synthetic material is placed in the area of the blocked or narrowed artery to reroute the blood flow. Learn about a type of lower extremity bypass procedure called femoral popliteal bypass surgery.
- Endovascular therapy (minimally invasive surgery)/percutaneous transluminal angioplasty: A thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery through a small puncture in the thigh to reach the blockage, expand the artery and increase blood flow.
- Hybrid/collaborative approaches: These unique approaches combine open and minimally invasive techniques into one effective procedure.