When any artery in the body becomes occluded by plaque buildup on the arterial walls, it begins to restrict blood flow to the area of the body it supplies. This reduction in oxygenated blood has significant consequences. For example, if this oxygenated blood does not reach the heart, it can cause a heart attack. In peripheral artery disease, too little oxygenated blood reaches the extremities, which can cause several debilitating and permanent issues.
Treatment for PAD has improved both in its safety and minimally invasiveness over the years. Today, the procedure we first look to offer is angioplasty with stenting. Angioplasty involves the insertion of a tiny balloon-tipped catheter into the artery. When we reach the blockage, the balloon is inflated and pushes the arterial plaque against the artery’s wall, thus allowing improved blood flow. To ensure that the plaque remains in place, we typically implant a small tube-like metal lattice known as a stent.
Stenting is permanent, and the stent may be medicated or not, depending on Dr. Farrugia’s assessment of the blockage.
How Is an Angioplasty Performed?
Dr. Farrugia specializes in an interventional procedure known as cardiac catheterization. This utilizes advanced catheter technology to access blood vessels without significant incisions. Dr. Farrugia prefers the peripheral pedal access catheterization approach, which only requires a small incision in the foot. The catheter is inserted into an artery through this incision and directed to the blockage using fluoroscopy or continuous x-ray technology. The entire procedure is performed under local anesthetic and carries relatively low risk when in the hands of a skilled and experienced interventional cardiologist. Once the balloon has been inflated and the stent deployed, the catheter is removed through the same incision, and patients can go home. The risks of cardiac catheterization are relatively low and may include blood loss or infection at the incision site. Less commonly, cardiac catheterization may damage the blood vessels or other cardiovascular structures. Very rarely patients can experience a cardiovascular emergency. This risk is mitigated by a cardiologist experienced in the procedure.
To learn more about angioplasty with stenting and understand how Dr. Farrugia’s extensive experience as a leader in cardiac catheterization makes this a routine procedure, we invite you to schedule a consultation at our office. During this consultation, you can have a candid conversation with Dr. Farrugia about the options relating to your situation and whether lifestyle change alone or a procedure is necessary to prevent the worsening of your PAD. Most importantly, you should see your vascular specialist as soon as possible to allow for the greatest number of treatment options and the best outcomes.