The goals of treatment for peripheral artery disease are:
- Manage symptoms, such as leg pain, so exercise isn't uncomfortable
- Improve artery health to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
Treatments for peripheral artery disease includes lifestyle changes and sometimes, medication.
Lifestyle changes can help improve symptoms, especially early in the course of peripheral artery disease. If you smoke, quitting is the single most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of complications. Walking or doing other exercise on a regular, scheduled basis (supervised exercise training) can improve symptoms dramatically.
Surgeries or other procedures Graft bypass
A graft is used to redirect blood flow around a blocked or narrowed artery. A graft can be a blood vessel from another part of the body or a synthetic substitute.
In some cases, angioplasty or surgery may be necessary to treat peripheral artery disease that's causing claudication:
- Angioplasty and stent placement. This procedure is done to open clogged arteries. It can diagnose and treat a blocked vessel at the same time. The health care provider guides a thin, flexible tube (catheter) to the narrowed part of the artery. A tiny balloon is inflated to widen the blocked artery and improve blood flow. A small wire mesh tube (stent) may be placed in the artery to keep the artery open.
- Bypass surgery. The surgeon creates a path around the blocked artery using either a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body or a synthetic one.
- Thrombolytic therapy. If a blood clot is blocking an artery, a clot-dissolving drug may be given directly into the affected artery.