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Consider these symptoms:
• Painful cramping in the legs after
walking or climbing stairs
• Numbness or weakness in the
• Sores on your toes, feet or
legs that won’t heal
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Patients who do not benefit from lifestyle changes or medications, however, may need more extensive therapies, including minimally invasive intervention, said Dr. Brown.
“For patients who do not respond to more conservative treatments, there are various catheter-based treatments, minimally invasive, image-guided procedures that allow
us to look inside a patient’s arteries for areas that may show plaque build-up and obstruction,” he said. “If a blockage is found, a balloon on the end of the catheter may be inflated to re-open the narrowed artery.”
Sometimes a stent, or wire mesh tube, is left behind to keep the diseased artery open. The whole procedure, which is performed under
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mild sedation, usually lasts a couple of hours and is an outpatient procedure. At New Hanover Regional Medical Center, these catheterization procedures are performed by highly--trained cardiologists, radiologistsand vascular surgeons in specially designed surgical suites.
“At NHRMC, we offer the latest and most advanced treatments for the management of PAD and other vascular diseases,” said Dr. Weatherford. “With these procedures, we can dramatically impact a patient’s quality of life for years to come."
Join NHRMC vascular specialists for a free cardiovascular seminar on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at NHRMC’s Surgical Pavilion. To reserve your space today, call 815.5188.
If you think they’re just normal parts of aging, think again. They could be indications of a serious condition called Peripheral Arterial Disease, or PAD, a common circulatory problem in which plaque buildup in the artery walls restricts blood flow to the limbs and vital organs.
It’s estimated that between eightand 12 million Americans suffer from PAD, developing blockages in their legs, arms, groin, kidney, or even the brain. If blood flow is cut off, the end result could be the loss of vital organs, limbs or even a stroke.
“PAD is an extremely common problem with similarities to coronary artery disease,” said Dr. Philip Brown, a vascular surgeon with Wilmington Health Associates. “PAD most commonly affects patients in the sixth and seventh decades of life, but can occur much sooner in individuals with risk factors such as family history of vascular disease, elevated cholesterol and smoking.”
Lifestyle changes and medications are often the first line of defense against PAD, said vascular surgeon Dr. David Weatherford of Coastal Surgery Specialists.
“The first line of treatment for PAD is lifestyle modification, including smoking cessation, managing cholesterol and increasing physical activity,” said Dr. Weatherford. “Eating healthy foods low in fat and cholesterol is also important.”
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