In the majority of people with PAD leg cramps, stopping smoking, reducing other risk factors, taking certain medications and participating in a formal exercise rehabilitation program will greatly improve your walking and quality and length of life. At Gundersen Lutheran, we are specially designed to meet your needs in these areas. Even if you need more aggressive treatment, the medicines your doctor prescribes are still very important to prevent further damage.
If you have severe blockages, or noninvasive treatments are unable to improve your symptoms significantly, you will most likely be set up for an arteriogram.
An arteriogram (also called an angiogram) is a series of X-rays that show how blood is flowing and gives a detailed picture of narrowed or blocked arteries by using a special dye that is injected into the arteries of your lower body.
Angioplasty, the widening of a narrowed artery or the opening of a small blockage by pressing the plaque against the artery wall may be suggested by your doctor. A stent may be placed to prevent the artery from closing again. After the procedure, your physician will request a return visit to ensure the artery is still open. The artery may experience improved blood flow for a few years. The procedure can be repeated if blockage occurs again.
Your physician may advise bypass surgery if your symptoms worsen and the blockage can’t be treated with angioplasty. Although a hospital stay is necessary for this surgery, it can successfully treat blocked arteries in the leg or abdomen. Your surgeon makes a path around the artery blockage with a graft, made from either one of your veins or a man-made (synthetic) tube. This method allows the blood to flow through the new passage and to bypass the blockage altogether.