Arterial problems often arise as you get older and the nature of the arterial wall changes, often it can become hardened. This may result in the artery becoming narrow and blocking, or the artery may actually weaken and become progressively larger giving rise to an aneurysm. Both of these situations will require some form of intervention.
Injuries to arteries can occur at any age and may be immediately obvious however occaisionaly they are only apparent following, for example, a broken bone at a later date.
The signs of a poor blood supply include the limb becoming painful when exercising (intermittent claudication), the limb becoming cold, pale and finally the pulses disappear.
Our approach to arterial problems includes a thorough assessment, including a clinical assessment and a Non-Invasive Duplex Ultrasound Scan. The next step may involve injecting dye to outline the artery, this may be accompanied by procedures to stretch the artery or to insert stents which bypass blockages and support aneurysmal dilatation. Increasingly, arterial problems are being sorted out using keyhole techniques known as endovascular surgical procedures.
All these treatments are designed to improve the blood supply and the majority of them are aimed at improving the blood supply to the legs but also can be used to improve the blood supply to the head and other organs throughout the body.
Occasionally arterial problems arise because an artery blocks when clotted material travels to the limb, this can be associated with underlying cardiac problems such as atrial fibrillation. Treatments may include thinning the blood or physically removing the clot.
The key to managing arterial problems is a proper clinical assessment followed by duplex ultrasound examination and, if necessary, arteriography often combined with a non invasive interventional procedure.