Peripheral Vascular Disease
This refers to a lack of blood flow to the extremities, and typically presents with a patient noticing pain in the affected extremity. This pain can come on with activity, called claudication, or at rest, called rest pain. In addition, blood flow problems to the upper extremities can sometimes present as fainting spells or dizziness.
The carotid artery is one of two arteries that supply the blood flow to the brain. Patients typically do not have symptoms of carotid artery stenosis (narrowing) until they have a stroke. Carotid artery stenosis can sometimes be detected with a stethoscope. Your physician may be able to hear a bruit, which is a whooshing sound in the artery that indicates narrowing. Once identified, carotid artery disease can be treated to help prevent stroke.
An aneurysm is an enlargement of the blood vessels in the body that can lead to rupture and death. Aneurysms are usually asymptomatic until they rupture. They can be detected at times on physical examination by your physician. Once identified, the aneurysm needs to be carefully evaluated by a vascular surgeon. Some are repaired to prevent rupture, and others are treated medically and watched with close follow-up.
Injury to the vascular system requires prompt attention and treatment to avoid significant blood loss and death. Damaged blood vessels can also cause abnormal clotting, which needs to be diagnosed and treated promptly as well. Some of these injuries are cared for the best by the general/trauma surgeon. Others require the expertise of a vascular surgeon to provide the best outcomes.
Visceral Vascular Disease
Blood flow to the organs in the abdomen can sometimes be restricted by disease in the blood vessels that supply these tissues. Symptoms can include abdominal pain and/or high blood pressure, and some blockages are identified on imaging tests done for other reasons. These problems are best managed by a vascular surgeon.