Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Treatment

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Numbness, cold, or losing hair in your hands or feet? Pale or blueish skin? These could mean you aren't getting enough blood to the area. They could be signs of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Peripheral artery disease usually happens when arteries in your pelvis, leg, or arm become narrow or blocked. This is caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which creates atherosclerosis.

Without treatment, serious cases of PAD can lead to loss of blood in your legs, gangrene, and amputation of the limb.

Treating Peripheral Artery Disease at UVA Health

At UVA, we can diagnose you by using these tests:

  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI)
  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) angiography
  • Magnetic resonance angiography
  • Pulse volume recording (PVR)

Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease

PAD, or peripheral artery disease, usually occurs when pelvis and leg arteries become narrow or blocked. View PAD transcript.

Treatment depends on how bad your PAD is. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, supervised exercise, and eating a low-fat diet. You may need medication to help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels. and to help prevent blood clots. 

If you have severe PAD, you may need a procedure to break up blockages or route blood flow around a blockage.

Subintimal Angioplasty 

UVA Health is a regional pioneer in subintimal angioplasty. Your surgeon puts a wire into the wall of the affected artery. Once the wire passes the blockage, we move it into the artery and a balloon inflates to open the artery. Subintimal angioplasty is especially effective in treating longer blockages.

Minimally Invasive Bypass Grafts

Similar to heart-bypass procedures, this is where a surgeon takes veins from elsewhere in your body to reroute blood flow around a blockage in the artery.


Stents are put in to open a blocked passageway. That improves blood flow.

Mechanical Thrombectomy Device

Doctors use this device to break up blockages in the artery and improve blood flow.