Peripheral angioplasty is a procedure that has grown rapidly in the last two decades. The same atherosclerosis that involves the heart arteries can involve any artery in the body. The most common arteries to be involved are those which supply the legs (causing cramps when walking, known as claudication), those to the brain known as the carotid arteries (causing strokes) and the arteries to the kidneys (causing high blood pressure).
The same risk factors for coronary artery disease are associated with peripheral vascular disease. Controlling these factors can help control symptoms.
There are noninvasive tests, which may help your doctor learn if the blood flow through the arteries is impeded and if so may order an angiogram. The procedure of peripheral angioplasty is performed using a catheter and a balloon to expand a narrowed artery. Stents are often used to help keep an artery opened. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and sedation. You may have your procedure as an outpatient or stay overnight. Light activity may be resumed shortly after the procedure and full activity in about one week.