Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Treatment | Vascular Disease | MedStar Health

Developing an individualized plan to manage a common vascular disease

Treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD) depends on the cause. The most common cause is atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries become narrow because of a buildup of fatty deposits called plaque.

The experts in our Vascular and Endovascular Program are recognized leaders in the treatment of PAD. They will work with you to develop an individualized plan to manage and treat the condition so you can return to your daily activities and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

There is no cure, but we can help you manage your symptoms and reduce the progression of the disease. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, such as exercising and quitting smoking, taking medication, or more advanced procedures, such as angioplasty or surgery.

Lifestyle changes and medication

If you smoke, the most important step you can take to reduce the risk of complications from PAD is to quit smoking. You may also be able to manage the symptoms and halt the progression of the disease by exercising, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent blood clots or lower your blood pressure or cholesterol. If a blood clot is blocking an artery, you doctor may recommend thrombolysis, which involves using a clot-busting drug to break up the clot.

Minimally invasive and surgical options for PAD

In some cases, you may need more than lifestyle changes and medication to treat your PAD. Your options will depend on your unique situation but may include:

  • Angioplasty: Using a thin, flexible tube called a catheter, the doctor will guide a small balloon to the blocked vessel and inflate the balloon to open the vessel.

  • Bypass: A vessel taken from another part of the body or a synthetic vessel is surgically connected above and below the blockage. This creates a new pathway for your blood to travel.

  • Stenting: A catheter is used to place a wire mesh tube within a narrow artery to support the artery walls and keep it open.

  • Surgery: The blocked artery can be cleared by creating an incision in the artery and removing the plaque buildup.


Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

PAD occurs when blood flow to the arms and legs is reduced due to narrowed or blocked arteries.


Diagnosing peripheral artery disease is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.

Angiogram (Angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Arterial duplex ultrasound for arms and legs

Arterial duplex ultrasound uses Doppler and traditional ultrasound to assess blood flow in the arteries of your arms and legs.

Pulse volume recording

Pulse volume recording tests are used to evaluate blood flow through the arteries in your arms or legs.

Our locations

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MedStar Montgomery Medical Center

18101 Prince Philip Dr.
Olney, MD 20832

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Rd. NW
Washington, DC, 20007

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar St Mary's Hospital

25500 Point Lookout Rd.
Leonardtown, MD 20650

MedStar Harbor Hospital

3001 S. Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239

Additional information

Vascular and Endovascular Program

Partner with a recognized leader in offering care ranging from straightforward vascular disease to the most complex vascular disorders.

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