Atherosclerotic blockages can occur in arteries that supply blood to the lower extremities. These blockages decrease blood flow to the muscles of the leg and can be treated with angioplasty and stenting procedures.
Why is it performed?
Blockages and narrowings in the leg arteries can cause the following symptoms:
- Aching, tiredness, or cramping in the legs during walking or exercising which disappears after a few minutes of rest
- Numbness and tingling in the lower legs and feet
- Coldness in the lower legs and feet
- Non-healing ulcers or sores on the legs or feet
Major surgery to correct these narrowings may be avoided with balloon angioplasty and stenting techniques to open these blockages. Relief of these blockages will restore blood flow and may improve symptoms.
What is experienced?
Patients are admitted on the morning of the procedure, which is performed in the catheterization lab. Preparation before the procedure includes a clinical examination, lab tests and an EKG. During the procedure, the interventional cardiologist will insert a catheter in the groin or elbow area under local anesthesia. The patient may feel some pressure at the catheter site, but no pain. The artery is first opened with an inflated balloon-tipped catheter (angioplasty), followed by a stent insertion to prop the artery open. Blood flow is thereby restored and enhanced.