Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is caused by atherosclerotic disease or plaque buildup inside the blood vessels carrying blood to your legs. An estimated 8.5 million Americans and more than 200 million people worldwide have PAD.
Acute Limb Ischemia
Acute limb ischemia is a severe form of PAD. It occurs when blood flow to a limb, often the legs or feet, is suddenly blocked, often by a blood clot. It can put the health of your limb at risk and requires emergency treatment to save the limb.
Critical Limb Ischemia
Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is the most severe and deadly form of PAD. CLI is defined as pain while resting, foot/toe ulcers or gangrene caused by narrowed or blocked arteries.
Approximately 2 million US citizens suffer from CLI. CLI is on the rise due to the increase in the number of people with diabetes and kidney disease. Patients with CLI have a major amputation rate as high as 40 percent at 6 months and a mortality rate of 20 to 25 percent in the first year after diagnosis. At 5 years, the all-cause mortality rate of 70 percent exceeds that of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, stroke and coronary artery disease.
Oftentimes CLI patients undergo amputation without any type of vascular evaluation by a highly trained vascular surgeon or interventional physician who have expertise in surgical and nonsurgical treatment techniques and limb salvage. Seeing an expert could help save the limb from amputation and improve quality of life.
You may be at risk for both PAD and acute limb ischemia if you have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Age over 65
- Family history of PAD
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Kidney failure
If you have PAD, you are at increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The 5-year mortality rate among patients diagnosed with PAD may be as high as 33%, with most deaths due to heart attack and stroke.
You may have PAD if you experience symptoms such as:
- Cold sensation in the legs and feet
- Leg pain when walking or exercising
- Numbness or tingling in the lower legs and feet
- Skin discoloration in the leg
- Sores or ulcers on the legs and feet that don’t heal
You may be experiencing acute limb ischemia if your limb is:
- Pale looking
- Suddenly painful
- Very cold
At the University of Miami Health System, our experts provide minimally invasive treatment to improve blood flow and treat both PAD and acute limb ischemia. They have performed more than 1500 complex limb salvage procedures since 2011, helping hundreds of patients avoid amputation.
Why Choose UHealth?
Leading-edge imaging care in South Florida. Our doctors are also researchers discovering new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment. That means you can get some of today’s most promising advancements through clinical trials. You benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the lab to the bedside.
Advanced, hard-to-find procedures. Our doctors are committed to caring for every patient. That’s why they offer the latest treatments, including limb salvage, endovascular grafting and thoracic outlet decompression, to improve your blood flow.
Expert care from highly trained interventional radiologists. Our interventional radiologists and radiology specialists are experts in a variety of minimally invasive procedures — everything from treatments to clear blocked blood vessels to advanced cancer therapies like NanoKnife®.
All the care you need, from one physician. Our vascular surgeons perform a wide range of procedures so you can have the same physician for any vascular care you need as your condition changes. Whether you need a stent replaced or a vein grafted, you can always turn to the doctor you trust.
Experienced doctors, reliable results. UHealth vascular surgeons perform hundreds of stent placements, angiograms and more every year. You can rely on their experience to help you avoid complications and have a positive outcome.