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Interview with Dr. Moshfegh

What is peripheral vascular disease? 

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), sometimes called peripheral arterial disease (PAD), is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and other substances in the blood. When plaque builds up in the body’s arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis. Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body.

What are the procedures?

  • Angioplasty — a minimally invasive procedure in which a surgeon threads a balloon-tipped tube through arteries until it reaches the one that is blocked. The surgeon inflates the balloon, which compresses the plaque in the artery and widens the vessel.
  • Stenting — also minimally invasive and may be done at the same time as angioplasty. A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that a surgeon inserts through a catheter to prop open an artery.
  • Atherectomy — also minimally invasive, a procedure in which a device is inserted through a catheter into your arteries or veins. The device has a laser or cutting tip that cuts through the accumulated plaque and scrapes it from the artery or vein.

What is the recovery process like?

For either procedure, you will lay flat after the procedure and may be asked not to bend your leg for 2 to 6 hours. During this time the blood flow in your legs will be closely monitored by nurses who will check your pulses and skin color and temperature. You’ll likely go home within hours of your procedure, although some patients spend the night in the hospital. Expect to have some swelling and bruising around the puncture site at the groin, and possibly spreading across your thigh and abdomen. This is normal.