External Iliac Arteriopathy

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External iliac arteriopathy is narrowing or blockage of the external iliac artery caused by repetition and heavy exercise. 

Causes of External Iliac Arteriopathy

This disease occurs most often in high-performance cyclists who bike around 10,000 miles per year. While riding, the thigh is excessively bent. This causes additional stress on the external iliac artery wall and an increase in your heart's output.

Due to the external iliac artery’s origin in the pelvis and the athlete’s taut inguinal ligament, the artery is unable to move during exercise, which also results in more stress on the artery and an increase in heart function.

Symptoms of external iliac arteriopathy include:

  • Leg pain
  • Leg cramping
  • Leg numbness

Diagnosis & Treatment at UVA

Our specialists can diagnose you through:

  • Angiography
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • Computed tomography (CT) angiography scan

Surgery is the most common treatment for external iliac arteriopathy. Patients with more severe symptoms may have operative synthetic patch angioplasty or graft replacement of their external iliac and common femoral arteries.

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.