Peripheral atherosclerosis disorder is a disease that narrows the blood vessel’s space outside of the heart. When atherosclerosis involves the aorta (the abdominal aorta) and the arteries of the lower limbs, it results in a blood flow disorder in the lower extremities. This is expressed as a fixed distance walking disorder with intermittent limping.
Diagnosis of peripheral atherosclerosis is done by several tests:
- Pulse tests – lack of pulse or lowered pulse in the lower extremities.
- Doppler tests – a Doppler test for the lower extremities both at rest and on effort.
- In some circumstances it is preferable to continue further exploration with a CAT scan (a computer assisted tomography scan) where contrast material is injected in order to map the lower extremities and their disorders.
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed the continued course of treatment has to be chosen, while taking into consideration any other ailments the patient may have. If the disorder essentially affects the patient’s quality of life, and based on the tests performed, catheterization could be considered – a surgical procedure usually done under a local anesthetic. During the catheterization, the narrowed and blocked blood vessels are expanded using the “over the wire” technique, in which stents and balloons are passed on a conductor which is inserted into the blood vessel (under imaging).
If the patient is not suited for catheterization, then further surgical intervention, such as atherosclerosis bypass surgery, could be considered, or alternatively treatment that combines both catheterization and surgery which would offer a less invasive medical solution.
Length of hospital stay
Following blood test evaluation and imaging scans, the patient will be received either the night before or on the day of surgery. The operating time averages between two to three hours, but obviously depends on the patient’s medical condition. After surgery the patient will remain in the recovery room for a short while, and then spend an additional night in the hospital ward for further observation.
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