Welcome to St. Alexius Limb Preservation Center

It’s a Matter of Life and Limb


What is PAD?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a term used to classify all non-coronary arterial diseases. It is a buildup of plaque in the walls of arteries, which reduces or blocks the flow of blood to your limbs. PAD is most commonly seen in the legs.


Who Is Affected

Pad affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States. The risk of PAD increases dramatically with age. If you are over 70 or if you are over 50 and have cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes you may be more susceptible to PAD.
People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have PAD.


Risk Factors

  • Aging
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • History of Vascular Disease, Heart Attack or Stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • African American or Hispanic Ethnicity



  • Fatigue in the leg muscles (buttocks, thighs or calf) that occurs dureing activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
  • Pain in the legs and/or feet that disturbs sleep.
  • Sores or Wounds on toes, feet or legs that heal slowly, poorly or not at all.
  • Color changes in the skin of the feet, including paleness or blueness.
  • Lower temperature in one leg compared with the other leg.
  • Poor nail growth and decreased hair growth on toes and legs.


How is PAD diagnosed?


Physical Exam to check:

  • the pulse in your legs and feet to determine of there is sufficient blood flow
  • the color, temperature and appearance of your legs and feet
  • the signs of poor wound healing on the legs and feet


Diagnostic Tests

  • Several simple and noninvasive tests can be performed to detect PAD
  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI) compares blood pressure in the arm and leg
  • Doppler ultrasound measures blood flow to determine which arteries are narrowed or block


How is PAD treated?

There are three main approaches to treating PAD: making lifestyle changes, taking medication and in some cases, having an endovascular procedure or surgery.


1. Medical Management and Monitoring

PAD risks can be reduced by:

  • Medication management
  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise programs, walking
  • Diabetes management
  • Smoking cessation


2. Minimally Invasive Treatment

PAD symptoms can be treated by:

  • Plaque excision β€” removal of plaque with a catheter based device
  • Angioplasty β€” enlargement of a narrowed artery with a small ballon
  • Stent β€” expansion of narrowed artery through a permanent mesh metal tube


3. Surgery or Amputation


PAD symptoms can also be treated by:

  • A surgical procedure to bypass the blocked artery
  • Amputation

Untreated PAD or late diagnosis can result in:

  • Removal of diseased portion of the limb