Peripheral vascular disease

Peripheral arterial disease

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Cardiologists and vascular surgeons at Duke use novel techniques and minimally invasive procedures to widen arteries narrowed by peripheral vascular disease, also known as peripheral artery disease. Our physicians evaluate your risk factors and use the latest treatment advances to restore blood flow to your arms and legs. Our goal is to minimize your risk for heart attack, stroke and amputation.

Expert diagnosis and management of peripheral vascular disease

Peripheral vascular disease should be taken seriously whether you experience painful symptoms or none at all. Often referred to as “poor circulation,” peripheral vascular disease occurs when fatty deposits build up on the inner walls of blood vessels and restrict normal blood flow. While peripheral vascular disease usually affects the arteries in your legs, is can also affect arteries to your arms, head and vital organs. Sometimes it can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, and amputation.

As experts in the diagnosis and management of peripheral vascular disease, our specialists use advanced screening to identify the condition at every stage. When advanced disease is present, we use combinations of surgery and minimally invasive procedures. We are also researching exciting alternatives to surgery, like stem cell therapy, to grow new blood vessels. We are always here to help you make the lifestyle changes necessary to improve your quality of life and reduce your risk of serious complications.

Choose Duke for your peripheral vascular disease treatment because we offer:

  • Top-ranked care. U.S. News and World Report ranks Duke Heart Center 5th in the nation, based on our patients’ survival rates, the number of procedures we perform and the quality of our support services.
  • Experience and expertise. Our board-certified vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists perform more than 3,000 minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures annually. Catheters let us access and open arteries narrowed by peripheral vascular disease using laser devices and drug-coated stents. You experience less pain, scarring and recover faster.
  • Novel surgical alternatives. We are studying the promising use of bioengineered blood vessels in the legs and arms when peripheral vascular disease is advanced. 
  • Dedicated support for limb loss. Should your peripheral vascular disease result in loss of a limb, care givers from across multiple disciplines collaborate to provide comprehensive care. Care begins before your operation and continues through prosthesis and rehabilitation, often ending with regaining the ability to walk.
  • Healthy lifestyle support. Our cardiac prevention and rehabilitation specialists help you eat healthier, start exercising, quit smoking, lose weight and manage your blood pressure.


Screening and tests

Peripheral vascular disease is often present without symptoms, but some people may experience aching, pain or numbness in the leg muscles whey they walk or climb stairs. To ensure prompt and accurate diagnosis, our physicians perform the following tests to confirm its presence and define its severity.

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