Peripheral Vascular Disease Evaluation and Treatment

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PAD Evaluation and Treatment at RCI

What is peripheral arterial and vascular disease (PAD)?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), or vascular disease, is a serious condition referring to the blockage or buildup of blood vessels, usually in the legs and feet. While PAD can be deadly, its symptoms can be subtle. Many times, patients attribute PAD to other ailments like arthritis, back pain or the effects of aging.

What causes PAD?

PAD is usually caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls that restricts blood flow. Atherosclerosis affects the heart and can affect arteries throughout the body.

Risk factors for PAD:

  • Age 50 and older
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Symptoms of PAD

People with PAD may not experience symptoms during the beginning stages. The most common early symptom is intermittent discomfort in the legs during activity including:

  • Cold legs or feet
  • Diminished hair and nail growth on affected limb and digits
  • Noticeable change in color in legs or feet
  • Pain when walking
  • Pain, weakness, numbness or cramping of muscles in hands or feet
  • Sores, wounds or ulcers on hands or feet that heal slowly or not at all

With more advanced stages, PAD symptoms may include:

  • Critical limb ischemia (pain in your feet or toes even when you are at rest)
  • Painful sores on your feet or toes; left untreated, these sores can become dead tissue known as gangrene

Many people with PAD have pain in their buttocks, thighs or calves during physical activity. The pain often goes away when the exercise stops. This is because the leg muscles used in exercise need more blood flow, and this flow is restricted due to the arteries narrowed by the disorder.

PAD often goes undiagnosed. It is important to inform a physician if you have symptoms because PAD can lead to increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Diagnosis of PAD

The most common test for PAD is the ankle-brachial index (ABI). ABI is a test that determines how well your blood is flowing by comparing the blood pressure in your legs to the blood pressure in your arms. PAD can also be diagnosed with a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or with CT angiography.

Treatment of PAD

Treatment for PAD focuses on controlling symptoms and halting the progression of the disease.

Conservative treatment:

Medications to lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol may be prescribed. Other medications include those that improve blood flow and relax blood vessel walls. Steps that lower your risk of developing PAD or lower risk of PAD progression include:

  • Control your blood pressure
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight
  • Maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels
  • Manage your diabetes
  • Quit smoking

Non-surgical procedures:

Interventional radiologists are medical doctors experienced in minimally invasive treatments of PAD including angioplasty and stenting. During this procedure, a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into a blocked vessel and inflated, and then a small mesh tube is inserted to keep the vessel open. This is a minimally invasive treatment that does not require surgery. We may also perform minimally invasive procedures to remove plaque.

Sometimes angioplasty and stenting is not possible, and the only treatment option is vascular surgery. If this is the case, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist.

How do I schedule an appointment for PAD evaluation and treatment?

To receive an informational packet or set up your initial consultation appointment, call RCI’s Vein & Interventional Clinic at 319-261-0636 or toll free at 800-747-0121.

Schedule Now Using our Contact Form

All of our interventional radiologists are board certified by the American Board of Radiology with Certificates of Advanced Qualification (CAQs) in vascular and interventional radiology. They are members of the Society for Interventional Radiology (SIR).

For more information on interventional radiology procedures, visit
RCI is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Contact RCI

RCI Imaging Center
1948 First Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Hours: Monday – Friday,
7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 319-364-0121
Toll Free: 800-747-0121
Fax: 319-364-5684

Vein & Interventional Clinic
1948 First Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Hours: Monday – Friday,
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 319-261-0636
Toll Free: 800-747-0121
Fax: 319-364-5684

For billing and
insurance questions:

RCI Business Services
1956 First Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Hours: Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Phone: 319-832-1735
Toll Free: 800-747-9729
Fax: 319-832-1747

mailing address:

Radiology Consultants of Iowa
PO Box 338
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406