Published on December 31, 2019

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Specialists at Concord Hospital and Concord Hospital Medical Group (CHMG) are working together to better prevent, diagnose and treat peripheral vascular disease — blockages in blood vessels outside the heart and brain that can cause severe disability.

Peripheral vascular disease is one of the most common vascular diseases, typically caused when a buildup of plaque inside a vein or artery restricts or blocks blood flow. The disease affects 8.5 million people in the United States.*

To expand care for vascular patients, CHMG and Concord Hospital have created a multidisciplinary approach in which vascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists and interventional radiologists collaborate to remove or by-pass blockages and restore blood flow.

“What makes us different is that the vascular specialists of Concord Hospital are working together to enhance patient care,” said interventional radiologist Dr. Ari Salis of X-Ray Professional Association. “In a lot of institutions, they work separately, but when you put your heads together, you get better outcomes.”

Most patients with peripheral vascular disease experience pain or cramping in the legs when moving, or in severe cases, when at rest. Decreased circulation can break down tissue and cause ulcers or other complications that could lead to amputation.

Through the team approach, Concord Hospital’s integrated endovascular services manages peripheral vascular disease with diagnosis and treatment that includes blood pressure and cholesterol medication, exercise programs, diet, smoking cessation programs and medical procedures.

The overlap and collaboration begin with diagnosis. Interventional cardiologist Dr. Michael Ferguson of CHMG Cardiac Associates and Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Suite at Concord Hospital Center for Cardiac Care said most patients with cardiac disease also have peripheral vascular disease, which he can diagnose while screening patients for cardiac problems.

The collaboration extends to surgery or minimally invasive procedures.

“We do some combined procedures, cardiac and vascular, that are not being done at a lot of places,” Dr. Ferguson said.

After many minimally invasive procedures, patients can go home on the same day. For patients in which minimally invasive procedures aren’t an option, because a previous procedure was not successful or because of specific anatomy restrictions, treatment may involve a by-pass. A vein, usually from the leg, is attached to an area before the blockage and past the blockage, effectively rerouting the blood around it.

The collaboration between interventional radiology, interventional cardiology and vascular surgeons means Concord Hospital can diagnose and treat the entire spectrum of peripheral vascular disease

“Patients can get comprehensive care,” said Concord Hospital Stroke Program Manager Christina Swanberry. “If there is a particularly tricky blockage, we are better equipped at managing it because we have the expertise working together.”