Peripheral Vascular Disease

What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) refers to diseases that blood vessels outside the heart or brain. Its often a narrowing of vessels that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach, and kidneys.
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Funtional PVD's

These diseases often relate to spasms that may come and go. These also don't involve defects of the blood vessels structures.

Organic PVD's

Caused by structural changes in blood vessels. Examples can include inflammation and tissue damage.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
A type of PVD. Caused by fatty buildups in the inner walls of the arteries.
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How is PVD Diagnosed?

Diagnosing PVD begins with a medical history and physical exam. In the exam, your doctor can do a simple test called the ABI (Ankle Brachial Index). After that other test may be done which include: Doppler and duplex ultra sound imaging, Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA), CT angiogram, and a Regular (catheter-based) angiogram.


  • In its early stages , common symptoms of poor leg circulation are cramping, fatigue, heaviness, pain or discomfort in the legs during activity. This usually goes away when the activity stops. Its called "Intermittent Claudication."
  • Symptoms of poor kidney circulation include sudden high blood pressure, or blood pressure that is hard or impossible to control with medications. Severe blockage of kidney arteries may result of loss of kidney function or failure.

How is PVD Treated?

Most people with PVD can be treated with lifestyle changes, medicines, or both. lifestyle changes to lower your risk include:
  • Stop Smoking (Smokers are four times more likely to get PVD then non smokers).
  • Controlling Diabetes.
  • Controlling blood pressure.
  • Being physically active.
Lifestyle changes (including an exercise program) usually improve symptoms or keep them from getting worse. In a minority of patient, lifestyle changes alone aren't enough. Then an angioplasty or bypass surgery may be needed.