Heart & Circulatory Health

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD): Causes, Prevention, Symptoms and Treatments

Written by
Dr. Saurabh Joshi
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Oct 24, 2013 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  2 min read



PVD is very common in the elderly, especially smokers and hypertensives. This causes pain in the legs and even open wounds. When found early, medication can help. Severe cases need an angioplasty or even open surgery.

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD): Causes, Prevention, Symptoms and Treatments

What Is PVD

Peripheral Vascular Disease or PVD is a disease of the arteries of the legs caused by deposition of cholesterol and other fats. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is the most common form of PVD.This causes less blood to flow through the arteries and causes symptoms from this reduced blood supply.

Symptoms of PVD

Depending on the severity, symptoms can be

  • Skin dryness, darkening and peeling.
  • Pain on walking or exercise.
  • Pain even at rest.
  • Skin ulceration ( wounds) over the toes or feet.
  • Large non healing ulcers over the feet or legs.

Risk Factors of PVD

  • High blood lipids
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure.

PVD Diagnosis

  • Feeling for the leg pulses at various anatomical locations can help determining loss of blood supply to that leg.
  • A colour doppler ultrasound / a CT or MR angiogram can also be done to document blocks in the arteries of the feet.

PVD Treatment

Mild disease can be treated by lifestyle modification and medications. Severe disease can be treated by Angioplasty and Stenting. This is done in a Cath Lab (catheterization laboratory) and is done via a small pin hole access in the groin. Small instruments like catheters and wires are used to reach the blocked artery and blocks are opened by inflating appropriately sized balloons across the blocks. Stents can also be placed to scaffold the treated segments and help the artery to remain open. Long segment occlusions can need surgical bypass graft placement.

Can This Disease Recur After Angioplasty

  • Yes, unless the risk factors are eliminated, the disease can come back.
  • You still need to stay off all kinds of tobacco, have good blood pressure and diabetes control and continue to take your blood thinning medications.
  • Patients who go back to smoking after their symptoms reduce; invariably have a recurrence that needs to be treated.

How Long Do I Need to Say In the Hospital For An Angioplasty ?

Typically the patient gets admitted the day before the procedure, certain tests are done to determine the Kidney and Cardiac function. The procedure is done the next morning. Since the angioplasty is done via a small pin hole over the groin, there is very little down time. You can walk around 6 hours after the procedure and go home the next day.

Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  2 min read




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