In many cases, PAD can be treated with medication (such as blood thinners or drugs that dilate an affected artery), lifestyle changes (such as smoking cessation), diet and a structured exercise program. With early detection, patients could see an interventional radiologist when intervention is most effective and less invasive treatments are still an option. If needed, interventional radiologists can perform minimally invasive angioplasty (the widening of a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel) and/or stenting (the insertion of a tiny mesh tube) to open a blocked artery in the leg and restore blood flow.
A recent study in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology noted that after a percutaneous vascular intervention (a medical procedure where vascular access is done via needle puncture, rather than by using an open surgical approach) is used to treat PAD, exercise can play an important role in recovery, health and well-being.
“Our experience with our research group revealed that the ability to achieve a better walking distance correlates significantly with an individual’s quality of life. So at six months after intervention, a treadmill test was used to evaluate 61 individuals who were available for follow-up, on their absolute claudication distance, which is the distance at which the patient experiences pain with exertion to the point that he or she cannot continue walking,” said Teijink. “In the group of 34 that had the intervention and additional exercise therapy, 11 were able to go the distance.” Teijink concluded, “These significant results reinforced our theory that a solid program of follow-up exercise provides additional health benefits.”
SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology