Cardiology Services Education

Angioplasty and Stent Placement - Peripheral Arteries

How Is Peripheral Arterial Disease Treated?

Treatments for peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) include lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery or procedures.

The overall goals of treating P.A.D. are to reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and prevent complications. Treatment is based on your signs and symptoms, risk factors, and results from a physical exam and tests.

Treatments

Medicines

Your doctor may prescribe medicines to:

  • Lower high blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
  • Thin the blood to prevent clots from forming due to low blood flow
  • Help ease leg pain that occurs when you walk or climb stairs

Surgery or Procedures

Bypass Grafting

Your doctor may recommend bypass grafting surgery if blood flow in your limb is blocked or nearly blocked. For this surgery, your doctor uses a blood vessel from another part of your body or a man-made tube to make a graft.

This graft bypasses (goes around) the blocked part of the artery, which allows blood to flow around the blockage. This surgery doesn’t cure P.A.D., but it may increase blood flow to the affected limb.

Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to your legs. These peripheral arteries can become blocked with fatty material that builds up inside them. This is called atherosclerosis.

During this procedure, a catheter with a balloon or other device on the end is inserted into a blocked artery. The balloon is then inflated, which pushes the plaque outward against the wall of the artery. This widens the artery and restores blood flow.

Stent

A stent (a small mesh tube) may be placed in the artery during angioplasty. A stent helps keep the artery open after angioplasty is done. Some stents are coated with medicine to help prevent blockages in the artery.

Angioplasty and stent placement are two ways to open blocked peripheral arteries.

Information provided by National Heart Lung and Blood Institute