Cardiologists and vascular surgeons at Duke use novel techniques and minimally invasive procedures to widen arteries narrowed by peripheral artery disease, also known as peripheral vascular 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.
About Peripheral Artery Disease
PAD is a narrowing or blockage of your arteries -- vessels that bring blood to your major organ systems and your limbs. PAD is usually caused by atherosclerosis -- the buildup of plaques made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances on the inner walls of your blood vessels. This prevents your blood from flowing normally. Often, PAD has no symptoms. Some people may have aching, pain, or numbness in their leg muscles when they walk or climb stairs. This is called claudication; it happens when the muscles that are performing the work don’t get enough oxygen-rich blood.
While PAD usually affects the arteries in your legs, it can also affect arteries to your arms, head, and vital organs. If you have PAD, you should take it seriously, whether you have painful symptoms or none at all. Sometimes it can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, and amputation.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Expert Diagnosis and Management of Peripheral Artery Disease
- Stem cell research to grow new blood vessels
- Human-tissue engineered blood vessels for bypass procedures
- Drug-eluting balloons and stents that can be placed through small incisions to reduce scarring and recovery time
- The newest atherectomy devices and laser therapies to open blood vessels
Screenings and Tests
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
An ABI helps us determine whether your legs are affected by peripheral vascular disease. The blood pressure in your ankle is compared to the blood pressure in your arm while an ultrasound device listens to and compares the flow of blood in both areas.
This test uses sound waves to help measure the speed of blood flow in your arteries and veins, and to create images that help determine where blood flow is restricted.
X-ray, CT, and MRI
Advanced imaging helps assess damage to your blood vessels. High-resolution images combined with angiography -- in which a contrast dye is injected into your arm -- can help providers more clearly identify narrowed areas in your arteries.
When it comes to your heart care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital's nationally ranked cardiology and heart surgery program is ranked the best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.
Why Choose Duke
Experience and Expertise
Our board-certified vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists perform more than 3,000 minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures annually. You experience less pain and scarring and recover faster than with surgical approaches.
Dedicated Support for Limb Loss
We have a dedicated team of providers, nurses, prosthetists, and therapists who are here to help and support you and your loved ones in the event your disease results in limb loss. Specialists from across Duke Health collaborate to provide comprehensive care, from before your operation through prosthesis fitting and rehabilitation, often enabling you to regain the ability to walk.