Peripheral Arterial Disease: Medical Care and Prevention of Complications

David L. Dawson, MD; William R. Hiatt, MD; Mark A. Creager, MD; Alan T. Hirsch, MD


Prev Cardiol. 2002;5(3) 

In This Article


The successful management of patients with PAD requires a concerted multidisciplinary approach, with cardiologists, vascular medicine physicians, interventional radiologists, surgeons, and their support staff working in cooperation. Each of these collaborative approaches is also more likely to be effective if performed in concert with a vascular nurse specialist. Excellence in vascular care requires communication and ongoing coordination of multiple care givers, as well as intensive patient education. A vascular nurse can often provide these key functions when physician vascular specialists may not.

For all vascular interventionalists, an understanding of the etiology and progression of PAD and knowledge of procedural benefits and limitations are critical. With a systematic regimen of exercise, lifestyle changes, and pharmacotherapy, most patients with PAD can be successfully managed, with improved limb symptoms and decreased rates of ischemic events. Revascularization, in selected cases, can preserve or restore function and maintain limb viability.