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Vascular Disease

Left untreated, vascular diseases increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. At the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute, our extensively experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures to treat the various types of vascular disease. They use some of the most cutting-edge treatments and technologies to ensure that you have the best possible result.

Types of vascular diseases

Vascular diseases affect your circulatory system of arteries, veins and lymph vessels. Vascular Diseases include any condition that affects your circulatory system including:

  • Aortic Aneurysm: Your aorta, the largest artery in your body, carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Aneurysms occur when blood pools in a weakened part of the aortic wall, causing a bulge.
  • Carotid Artery Disease: Carotid arteries provide oxygen-rich blood to your brain. Plaque deposits made up of cholesterol, fat, and other substances can build up in your arteries causing atherosclerosis.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Peripheral arteries carry blood to your legs, arms, stomach, and head. People with PAD have a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and other complications.

Left untreated, vascular diseases increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. At the Cardiovascular Institute, our extensively experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures to treat the various types of vascular disease. They use some of the most cutting-edge treatments and technologies to ensure that you have the best possible result.

Peripheral artery disease care at AHN: why choose us?

Our prompt, accurate diagnosis enables you to start treatment sooner and see improvements faster. We offer:

  • Advanced treatments: We specialize in minimally invasive endovascular therapies to open clogged arteries. These procedures take place inside blood vessels via a catheter (thin, hollow tube). You may undergo an endovascular procedure if health problems or other factors make conventional surgery too risky. For you, a minimally invasive surgery means a faster return to daily activities, less pain, and reduced blood loss.
  • Individualized care: Our vascular team customizes a treatment plan based on your health condition and needs. You also have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials for new therapies at the Cardiovascular Research Institute.
  • Lifestyle support services: PAD is a chronic, lifelong condition. You can work with our registered dietitians and certified exercise physiologists, as well as participate in our cardiovascular rehabilitation program, to you make healthy changes to protect your heart.
  • Dedicated team of experts: Our physicians are among the most experienced vascular specialists in the country. Your physician works collaboratively with leading cardiologists and other physicians to provide a prompt diagnosis and a targeted treatment plan.

Diagnosing peripheral artery disease at AHN

Your physician may order one or more of these tests to make a PAD diagnosis:

  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI): This test compares blood pressure readings in your ankles and arms to gauge how well blood is flowing to your limbs.
  • Doppler and ultrasound (duplex) imaging: This test uses sound waves to show blood flow and blockages in arteries and veins.
  • Angiogram: During this procedure (also called an arteriogram), your physician injects a contrast dye into an artery and takes X-ray images as the dye moves through the artery.
  • Computed tomography angiogram (CTA): Your physician injects a contrast dye into a vein in your arm or leg and uses a CT scan (series of X-rays) to monitor blood flow and check for carotid artery disease.
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram: Your physician injects a contrast dye into a vein in your leg and uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to check blood flow as the dye moves through your blood vessels. Learn more about cardiovascular imaging.

Treating peripheral artery disease at AHN

Treatment options for PAD include:

  • Medication management: Your physician may recommend blood thinners, blood pressure medications, or cholesterol-lowering drugs to decrease your stroke risk.
  • Bypass surgery: Your physician takes healthy arteries or veins from another part of your body to create a graft that bypasses a blocked or narrowed artery. Learn more about bypass surgery.
  • Endovascular therapy: This minimally invasive procedure takes place inside your arteries using a thin, hollow tube called a catheter inserted through the femoral artery in your groin. Endovascular therapy options for PAD include:
    • Angioplasty and stenting: Your physician inflates and deflates a balloon on the tip of the catheter to open the artery. Next, your physician places a permanent stent, or small wire mesh tube, into the artery to keep it open.
    • Thrombolytic therapy: We were the first in the region to offer the Lutonix® ** 035 drug-coated balloon catheter to open blocked arteries. This balloon device delivers blood clot-dissolving medication directly into a blocked artery using a single balloon inflation.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN cardiovascular services.

** Posted with permission by BD BARD

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