In general, Peripheral Vascular Disease refers to any blockage or narrowing in an artery to the arm or leg. Most commonly, these narrowings occur in the arteries to the legs. Many people can have peripheral vascular disease without having any symptoms that warrant an intervention; however, there are three symptoms which can be relieved with intervention.
The first of these symptoms is referred to as lifestyle limiting claudication. A patient with this symptom will have pain in their calf that prevents them from walking as far as they would like. The second symptom is pain in the foot which typically occurs at night, is constant, and prevents a patient from sleeping. The final problem is a wound to the foot or leg that does not heal.
To treat problems with arterial blockage, an angiogram is typically needed. This procedure involves placing wires and catheters in the artery which has the blockage. If the blockage is straightforward, balloon angioplasty and/or stent placement can be performed in the same setting. Should the blockage be difficult an arterial bypass might be required to relieve symptoms.
If a patient is to undergo angiogram with potential angioplasty, it is typically a "day surgery" type procedure where patients do not need to stay in the hospital overnight. Surgical bypass typically requires a hospital stay from four to seven days.