Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease, or PVD, is a build-up of plaque in the arteries outside your heart that reduces blood flow. Ten to 12 million people suffer from this but only half are receiving treatment.


What puts you at risk for PVD?

  • Tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol level
  • Over the age of 50
  • Being overweight
  • Physical inactivity/lack of regular exercise
  • Family history of heart or vascular disease

Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of PVD?

  • Poor or absent pulses in arms/legs
  • Unequal blood pressure in arms
  • Leg/hip/calf cramps/fatigue/pain during walking (intermittent claudication) that stops with rest
  • Arm fatigue/dizziness when exercising arms
  • Numbness/tingling/weakness in legs with exercise
  • Sore on leg/foot that will not heal
  • Burning/aching pain in feet or toes when resting
  • Cold legs/feet
  • Color change in skin on legs/feet


How is PVD diagnosed?

  • History and physical exam
  • Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)
  • Lower Extremity Doppler (LEA)
  • Upper Extremity Doppler (UEA)
  • Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA)
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
  • Arteriogram/Angiogram


How is PVD treated?

Treatment depends on the location of the blockage, severity of blockage, symptoms and overall health of the person but may include:

  • Risk factor reduction
  • Medication and exercise program
  • Balloon angioplasty and stent
  • Bypass grafting
  • Gene Therapy (research procedure)