If you have mild to debilitating pain in your calves, thighs or buttocks when walking, or painful sores on your toes or feet, you may have peripheral artery disease, or PAD. As fatty deposits build up in the artery walls — causing reduced blood flow — it can also lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Patrick M., 64, of Salem, has a family history of heart disease and had two open-heart surgeries. When his legs and calves began cramping and burning, he was treated successfully for PAD by vascular surgeon Mark Fleming, MD.
“It was a wonderful outcome. Now I can treadmill an hour every day,” says Patrick, a retired lawyer. “It’s immeasurably better.”
According to Dr. Fleming, significant improvements in technology allow patients with PAD to be treated by a minimally invasive approach that doesn’t require an incision and allows for a quicker recovery. Techniques in angioplasty, stenting and atherectomy, in combination with advanced imaging, are performed on a regular basis, as well as complex open operations, for PAD.
“Seeing the dramatic improvement in patients’ lives following treatment for PAD is one of the reasons I chose to be a vascular surgeon,” says Dr. Fleming. “Many times these are my happiest patients.”