Vasospastic Disorders | Symptoms | MedStar Health

Blood vessel spasms that cause skin discoloration

Vasospastic disorders are spasms in the arteries that cause them to narrow and reduce blood flow to the arms and legs. The disorder is often experienced as a response to cold or stress. Raynaud’s phenomenon and raynaud’s disease are the most common vasospastic disorders.

Our vascular and endovascular program provides advanced treatments for vasospastic disorders.

Many vasospastic disorders do not have an underlying cause, but some can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as:

  • Arterial disease

  • Connective tissue disorders

  • Endocrine disease

  • Response to medication or drug therapy

What are the symptoms of vasospastic disorders?

If you have a vasospastic disorder, you may experience:

  • Blistering of the skin

  • Cold skin on your fingers or toes

  • Discoloration of the skin

  • Lacelike rash

  • Redness or pain when the skin is exposed to warmth


Diagnosing a vasospastic disorder 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.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Pulse Volume Recording

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


Your treatment plan will depend on your specific condition and any underlying conditions. It may include lifestyle modifications, medication, or more advanced treatments.

Venous disease treatments

Venous disease treatment may include medications, minimally invasive and surgical procedures to improve blood flow and circulation.

Additional information

Vascular and Endovascular Program

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