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What Is a Peripheral Angiogram and Peripheral Angioplasty?

What Is a Peripheral Angiogram and Peripheral Angioplasty?

About 6.5 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD), a serious medical problem that interferes with circulation and increases your risk of life-threatening complications. There are treatments for PAD, but its symptoms can be subtle, which means it’s not always easy to diagnose.

As a top cardiologist in Lutz and Tampa, Florida, Muthu Velusamy, MD, FACC, ABVM, and his team at Cardiovascular Institute of America use cutting-edge technology to diagnose and treat PAD, including state-of-the-art techniques called peripheral angiogram and peripheral angioplasty.

If you have peripheral artery disease or you have the symptoms of PAD, here’s what you should know about these two important medical techniques.

How PAD develops

Peripheral artery disease results when an artery in the periphery of your body — typically your arms or (most commonly) legs — becomes narrowed or blocked. Usually, this blockage happens when sticky deposits, or plaques, build up on the artery walls, interfering with blood flow and making the arteries stiffer.

PAD is more common among people who:

If you have peripheral artery disease, you have an increased risk of both heart attack and stroke.

Diagnosing and treating PAD

Doctors often use peripheral angiograms to diagnose PAD and to manage its treatment. Peripheral angioplasty is a procedure that improves blood flow in the affected limb.

Peripheral angiogram

Also called an arteriogram, an angiogram uses a special dye and X-ray technology to evaluate the inside of an artery and its blood flow. The goal of the angiogram is to identify areas where the artery might be blocked by plaque buildup or have other issues.

Peripheral angioplasty

If Dr. Velusamy discovers a blocked or narrowed part of an artery, he may decide to perform a procedure called an angioplasty. In this procedure, he uses a special instrument to insert a stent. The stent’s mesh framework supports the walls of the artery from the inside, holding the artery open to restore blood flow.

How these procedures work

Both procedures are performed through a small puncture in your artery, and both begin the same way. Prior to beginning the procedure, Dr. Velusamy cleans the puncture area and numbs your skin. 

After making the puncture, Dr. Velusamy threads a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter into the artery and slowly advances it, injecting a small amount of dye to make the artery easier to visualize. Real-time X-rays transmit images of the artery to a video monitor. 

During an angiogram, Dr. Velusamy maps the artery, making note of possible areas of concern. Then he slowly removes the catheter and closes the puncture wound. 

For an angioplasty, Dr. Velusamy inserts a special medical balloon through the catheter and advances it to an area that’s blocked. He gently inflates the balloon, compressing the plaque buildup to widen the artery. He then deploys the stent for support before removing the catheter and closing the puncture.

Make vascular health a priority

Peripheral artery disease is a serious medical condition, but fortunately, there are minimally invasive ways to diagnose and treat PAD that restore circulation and reduce your risk of complications. 

To learn more about PAD and the other techniques we use to diagnose and manage it, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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