Peripheral artery disease, also referred to as peripheral arterial disease, is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the lower extremities (legs).
When a person develops peripheral artery disease (PAD), the extremities - usually the legs — don't receive enough blood flow to keep up with the body’s needs. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication).
Peripheral angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure. These procedures are performed in a cardiovascular catheterization laboratory, under local anesthesia. An IV (intravenous line) into the arm or hand will provide medication to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. A catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the upper thigh (groin). Using high-resolution fluoroscopic (X-ray) video and film equipment, the catheter is guided through to the peripheral artery that is being treated. Once the catheter is in place the balloon is inflated and the narrowed peripheral artery is stretched open. The fatty plaque or blockage is pressed against the peripheral artery walls enlarging the diameter of the peripheral artery. After the blocked area of the peripheral artery is widened the balloon is deflated and removed. Blood flowing through the peripheral artery is increased, supplying blood to the heart.