Peripheral Artery Disease
- Last Updated: May 30, 2017
Peripheral artery disease is an occlusive disease where the blood flow in a region (typically the legs) is inadequate for the demand in the region, resulting in symptoms that may be not present at rest, but occurs with activity, such as walking or climbing stairs. Atherosclerosis may be a cause of peripheral artery disease, as the gradual narrowing of the arteries can restrict blood flow. Other causes can be high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and smoking.
Diagnosis can be made with a good history and one of several tests, including an ankle-brachial index, ultrasound or angiogram. Treatment involves cessation of the symptoms and correcting any underlying causes of the condition. Symptom correction can include medical therapy to control blood pressure, but may include angioplasty or surgery to bypass the obstructed areas of blood flow. Underlying conditions can include better management of blood sugar in folks with diabetes, exercise regiments, smoking cessation and weight loss.
It is thought that focused ultrasound can disrupt the clot formation and promote the flow of blood. Much of the work on this remains pre-clinical, but if success is found in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease, focused ultrasound may help in treatment of atherosclerosis in human hearts as well.
There are several mechanisms by which focused ultrasound can be involved in expanding the blood flow in compromised arterial regions. One area of interest is that stem cells appear to be attracted to and are more adherent in regions that have been treated with focused ultrasound compared to regions that have not had focused ultrasound treatment. There is a current clinical trial that is looking at this situation at Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock. Click here to learn more about the study, or contact Mary Catherine Faulkner (501-690-2339 or ).
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