When a person’s vascular system is healthy, blood travels freely through blood vessels, carrying oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body. However, when a person begins to develop vascular disease, blood vessels can thicken, harden, and narrow. The decreased blood flow that results can lead to a host of problems, from leg pain and difficulty walking to stroke and aneurysm.
The Vascular Center at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center offers state-of-the-art techniques to treat and correct vascular disease, including extensive diagnostic capability as well as leading-edge interventional and endovascular surgery.
Risk Factors and Symptoms of Vascular Disease
The risk factors for vascular disease are similar to those for heart disease and include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inactivity, obesity, smoking, and a family history of vascular disease. In many cases, vascular disease has no symptoms until it results in a stroke, mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, or TIA), or ruptured aneurysm. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) symptoms may include cramp-like muscle pain or weakness in the thigh, calf, foot, hip, or buttocks that occurs after walking.
Diagnostics Identify Problems Early
The good news is that vascular disease is very treatable if it is caught early. At the Vascular Center, patients can be painlessly screened for PAD, carotid artery disease (CAD), and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) using ultrasound and venous doppler, computerized tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Arteriography can map a blood vessel from the inside out in extraordinary detail. These tests show precisely how blood is moving through a person’s vascular system, giving the Vascular Center’s physicians key information about a person’s vascular health.
A Variety of Treatment Options
If testing reveals a problem, our vascular specialists have a range of medical and surgical options at their disposal. Medical options include lifestyle modification and prescription medication. Surgical choices vary from minimally invasive procedures to traditional surgery and include carotid artery stenting with cerebral protection, carotid endarterectomy, chryoplasty, intravascular ultrasound, AAA grafts, sclerotherapy, endovascular ablation, and laser atherectomy. Your doctor will discuss treatment options with you and design a plan that is most effective for your unique situation.
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MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center partners with MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, a national leader in research, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.